In fact, I would say it’s a near-prescient portrait of where Japan has ventured almost 60 years later. This should not catch us by surprise. Keiko or “Mama-san” (Hideko Takamine), as she is known by all, is one of the women living in this world. Trying to keep customers happy while getting by on only the smallest of margins. Become a Member and support film journalism. Film asiatique : When a Woman Ascends the Stairs, Année : 1960. She’s finally human and she loves, and the scenes that evolve out of this development are the film’s most devastating. Hideko Takamine faces much of the same struggles as Lana Turner when it comes to her own dreams — in this case gathering enough funds to open her own bar. Keiko, a middle-aged bar hostess who must choose to either get married or buy a bar of her own. Analysis: When a Woman Ascends the Stairs is a poignant portrait of Keiko, a widowed 30-year-old bar hostess whom everyone respectfully calls ‘Mama’, as she works in Tokyo’s Ginza, the entertainment district associated with high fashion and luxury. The stairs in the title are both literal and symbolic, conveying the idea that Keiko is on a Sisyphean vertical treadmill, trying to get somewhere in this life as a woman on her own. One old lady comments on how you can still see the old Tokyo, but it’s obvious — even the classy scoring and the generally sleek compositions suggest as much — modern society is upon us in full force. Because in one go she effectively represents an entire subset of human beings and imbues them with unmistakable pathos. The film’s time structure thus runs on dual tracks: first, the forward linear narrative, packed with incident (suicide, illness, marriage proposals, deceptions, one-night stands, abandonment); and second, the repeated figure of the stairs, with its philosophical musings, when the film catches its breath and loops back, making you understand that in a sense Keiko is getting nowhere, except in her awareness of what she is up against. 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But it would be too simple to see Keiko as the saint in a den of sinners. The veil of social decency morphs into a veil of affection, relations predicated on the commodity of love making true human connection impossible to find. She describes life's vicious cycle: acting cheerful around drunks, dressing and living well to convey confidence, needing money for these expenses and for her demanding mother and brother, and knowing she's growing older. Thankfully, there are other clients to work on, and so she does her best to keep them happy, while never quite acquiescing to their wishes. She has her own wayward needs, is in fact in love with a married businessman, Fujisaki (the wonderful actor Masayuki Mori, who played the potter in Ugetsu, and who subtly communicates here the burden of being “the type women go for”). Because this is a film all about sex, though we never see it outright. Format: DVD. Better Than Food 6,604 views. When a woman ascends the stairs, she steps into the den of lions. Let us know in the comments below! The crisp black-and-white CinemaScope, xylophone-inflected jazz score, and modernist bar interiors give When a Woman Ascends the Stairs a glamorous, International Style sheen; its taste of gin and bitters goes down like a dry martini. Sly, resourceful, but trapped, Keiko comes to embody the conflicts and struggles of a woman trying to … Naruse fills the canvas with sharp characterizations: the sexpot Junko (Reiko Dan), who snatches Keiko’s would-be patron for herself; the mother and brother who leech off of her; the long-suffering bartender-manager (played by rising star Tatsuya Nakadai) who unrequitedly loves Keiko but is not above a roll in the hay with Junko; the shrewd, right-to-the-point lady owner of the Carton Bar; the chubby, gentle-mannered suitor Sekine (Daisuke Kato). When a woman Ascends the Stairs is about a bar hostess named Keiko, played by Hideko Takamine, who wants to move up or out of her life style. When a Woman Ascends the Stairs subtitles. Most of the film doesn’t take place on the main streets however, instead frequenting the back alcoves and the lines of bars hidden away from the public. This absorbing drama takes a character we would normally associate with film noir into the real world of the Ginza, where a hostess's fortune is measured in how many men she can attract to her bar. 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Text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. Capturing the tense mood of a new millennium, Alejandro G. Iñárritu’s debut feature explores the hidden spaces of Mexico City at a moment of political turbulence and extreme social stratification. “Sorry. She weeps for herself, but do we weep for and with her? Played by the glamorous Takamine Hideko (1924– 2010), Keiko is older and wiser than her peers and is most desired by male customers. This article is within the scope of the WikiProject Japan, a collaborative effort to improve the coverage of Japan-related articles on Wikipedia. Patrons go to bars to escape the pressures of the world, the responsibilities of their … When A Woman Ascends The Stairs Keiko, 'Mama', is a 30 yr old Geisha with many life pressures and is of an age where she must think about her future. Love hotels, geishas and hordes of hostesses to go with them. Keiko Yashiro est une femme d'âge moyen qui travaille comme hôtesse dans un bar du quartier chic … In its place, Naruse commits unreservedly to his story and consequently, provides another moving examination of his culture. Of all Japanese directors Mikio Naruse was the one most concerned with the … Soli Deo Gloria. Should she seek a … SEE DETAILS. Join a community of like-minded readers who are passionate about cinema - get access to our private members Network, give back to independent filmmakers, and more. WHEN A WOMAN ASCENDS THE STAIRS might be Japanese filmmaker Mikio Naruse’s finest hour, a delicate, devastating study of a woman, Keiko (played heartbreakingly by Hideko Takamine), who works as a bar hostess in Tokyo’s very modern postwar Ginza district, who entertains businessmen after work. For information, go to http://www.japan1960.blogspot.com When a Woman Ascends the Stairs might be Japanese filmmaker Mikio Naruse's finest hour—a delicate, devastating study of a woman, Keiko (played heartbreakingly by Hideko Takamine), who works as a bar hostess in Tokyo's very modern postwar Ginza district, who entertains businessmen after work. Far from being moth-balled and prosaic, When a Woman Ascends The Stairs beats with the most devastating of lifebloods. The dilemma is that she is approaching an age when her looks might be expected to fade, and so she is encouraged either to start her own bar or to get married. 6 – 1980-2000: Handover & Second Wave, The History of Hong Kong Action Pt. When a woman ascends the stairs, she steps into the den of lions. Life like hamsters on a wheel, in a world of objectification, where systems... With her your inbox every weekend frequent musings at film Inquiry and on his 4! 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