109 Great Directors: Mikio Naruse

“We can no longer trust the studio.”

What Got This Director Here?
: Body of work.

My Favorite Past Experience Was…: Hideko the Bus Conductress, which I wasn’t even that fond of. I’ve only seen his less popular stuff.

What Did I Watch: Sound of the Mountain.

Where Does He Fit: After nine films struggling quite a bit with Naruse (mostly because Japanese silents are more or less not my thing), I went with a consensus favorite of his works: Sound of the Mountain. I was much more satisfied, with a cast of old pros doing exactly what they are known for but in a really strange context: a man watches two of his children’s marriages fall apart, but he likes his daughter-in-law better. The original book was apparently considered fantastic and was written by a Nobel Prize winner, but this will do nicely: one scene involving why women get abortions cuts like a laser.


Most Valuable Asset: Space and actresses.
Most Excited For: Floating Clouds.
Did They Deserve a Spot?: If his consensus-popular stuff is this good, then yes, but he’s perhaps too high.

Coming Up Next: Claire Denis, the definitive editor.


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