The Japan Foundation, Sydney & ACMI Present
When a Woman Ascends the Stairs
Based on an original screenplay by Ryūzō Kikushima and often considered to be Naruse’s magnum opus, When a Woman Ascends the Stairs is a touching tale of social injustice and emotional turbulence during post-war Japan. Keiko, more commonly known as Mama, is an ageing hostess working in the glamorous Ginza entertainment district. She finds herself at a turning point: should she seek marriage, stay in a career that will vanish with her youth, or pursue a business of her own? As the men surrounding her turn out to be a string of bitter disappointments, Mama finds herself wondering whether she actually has any agency in determining her life.
The courageous female protagonist, portrayed by Hideko Takamine, represents the true embodiment of the conflicts of a woman longing to establish her independence in a male-dominated society, with her character being emblematic of all women whose stories we tend to forget.
Awards & Accolades
... a heartbreaking study, to be compared with Mizoguchi's 'Life of Oharu'.
Mikio Naruse: A Glimpse of Japan’s Unsung Master (2–4 Dec 2022)
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Screening in cities across Australia, the JFF program will feature an expertly curated selection of films, from hot new releases alongside action, anime, drama, documentaries and more.
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