When a Woman Ascends the Stairs
Escaping circumstance is a journey through melancholia, at least according to Mikio Naruse. His exploration of frustrated hostess Keiko, played by the prolific Hideko Takamine, vividly recounts the roadblocks that trapped many women of Japan. Naruse’s willingness to expose Keiko’s vices creates a more nuanced character, and match the director’s penchant for detail. There are a few moments that drag, meandering in sorrow without advancement, but it’s never too long until tragedy strikes again–and life resumes.