Archive for March 20th, 2009


by Allan Fish

(Japan 1955 121m) DVD2

Aka. Ukigumo

We’ll always have Dalat

p  Masumi Fujimoto  d  Mikio Naruse  w  Yoko Mizuki  novel  Fumiko Hayashi  ph  Masaro Tamai  ed  m  Ichiro Saito  art  Satoru Chuko

Hideko Takamine (Yukiko Koda), Masayuki Mori (Kengo Tomioka), Mariko Okada (Osei), Deisuke Kato (Seikichi), Isao Yamakata (Sugio Iba), Chieko Nakakita (Kuniko), Mayari Mokusho (Aya), Noriko Sengoku (Nobu), Fuyuki Mutakami (Makita), Nobuo Kaneko (Kano), Heihachiro Okawa (doctor),

If ever a film summed up the career and indeed the outlook of Mikio Naruse, this would have to be it.  Though Late Chrysanthemums and When a Woman Ascends the Stairs have been more readily accessible to audiences in recent times, Floating Clouds was always regarded as his masterpiece by the minority in the know.  It appeared on several best film lists of leading critics both at the time of the cinema’s centennials and at the turn of the millennium, when such selections were in vogue.  It was quite right to be so highly placed, for it belongs in the pantheon with the best of Japanese cinema. 

            Yukiko and Kengo have a love affair during the war when both find themselves stationed on a less fiery outpost in Indo-China.  After the war, however, in 1946, when they meet up, they cannot admit to wanting a future together.  They recall the happy days of their affair, but they drift apart into various aborted relationships and become more and more resigned to their fate.  When Kengo has an affair with the young wife of a married man, matters are complicated by Yukiko’s pregnancy and by the death of the young girl, Osei.  Haunted by her, Kengo cannot commit himself to Yukiko and again they seem fated to be apart. (more…)

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