When a Woman Ascends the Stairs (1960)

Essential Viewing
Japan
Feature Film
Original Title: 女が階段を上る時
Director: Naruse Mikio
Writer: Kikushima Ryūzō
Cinematographer: Tamai Masao
Composer: Mayuzumi Toshirō
Cast: Takamine Hideko, Mori Masayuki, Dan Reiko, Nakadai Tatsuya, Katō Daisuke, Nakamura Ganjiro, Ozawa Eitarō, Awaji Keiko

Keiko (Takamine, exquisite), a popular yet principled bar hostess who has reached a certain age, finds that she must decide whether to open a bar of her own, move into alternative employment (not really an option), or get married – a decision complicated by the duplicitous actions of the men that surround her, in Naruse’s expertly crafted, beautifully acted, and quietly devastating character study. Iain.Stott