Eclipse Series 26: Silent Naruse
Mikio Naruse was one of the most popular directors in Japan, a crafter of exquisite melodramas, mostly about women confined by their social and domestic circumstances. Though often compared with Yasujiro Ozu and Kenji Mizoguchi for his style and treatment of characters, Naruse was a unique artist, making heartrending, brilliantly photographed and edited films about the impossible pursuit of happiness. From the outset of his career, with his silent films of the early thirties, Naruse zeroed in on the lives of the kinds of people—geisha, housewives, waitresses—who would continue to fascinate him for the next three decades. Though he made two dozen silent films, only five remain in existence; these works—poignant, dazzlingly made dramas all—are collected here, newly restored and on DVD for the first time, and featuring optional new scores by noted musicians Robin Holcomb and Wayne Horvitz.Flunky, Work Hard
Mikio Naruse’s earliest film in circulation is a charming, breezy short about an impoverished insurance salesman, Okabe, who is desperate to sell a policy to a wealthy family, and his scrappy young son.No Blood Relation
An actress returns to Tokyo after a successful stint in Hollywood to reclaim the daughter she abandoned years before—with the help of her gangster brother. Yet the child’s father, and especially her nurturing new stepmother, won’t give in to the mother’s demands so easily.Apart from You
For Apart from You
, Mikio Naruse turned his camera on the lives of working women. This gently devastating evocation of women’s limited options in Depression-era Japan was a critical breakthrough for the director.Every-Night Dreams
A single mother works tirelessly as a Ginza bar hostess to ensure a better life for her young son in Naruse’s formally ravishing drama about the desperation of daily living.Street Without End
Mikio Naruse’s final silent film is a gloriously rich portrait of a waitress, Sugiko, whose life, despite a host of male admirers and even some intrigued movie talent scouts, ends up taking a suffocatingly domestic turn after a wealthy businessman accidentally hits her with his car.