IMDb Rating 7.7 10 756


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June 02, 2019 at 01:44 PM



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23.976 fps
1hr 57 min
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Movie Reviews

Reviewed by GyatsoLa 9 / 10

flowing.... sinking

'Flowing' is a moving, beautifully made story centered around the demise of a long established geisha house, drowned under mounting debts. We witness the story largely through the eyes of the new maid Rika (Kinuyo Tenaka) as the elegant but unworldly mistress of the house Otsuta (Isuzu Yamata) tries to save her business. In this she is aided by her more worldly daughter Katsuyo (Hideko Takamine), but she is undermined by her hard-nosed older sister and an apparently sympathetic senior geisha guild member.

There is really nothing to this story - just an episode in the death of an older world, but its told with great sensitivity and not a little humour. There is a very funny scene where two drunken geisha joke about how little they have to do to make their money. But the overwhelming feeling is nostalgia and sadness as these women fight the dying of their business in a harsh world where women without husbands are thrown onto their own devices. It is also unusual in that it deals honestly and frankly with the aging process and the fear of poverty in old age.

The reputation of Naruse seems to be increasing all the time - he is surely in the top rank of directors. This is the first of his movies that I've seen, but I would definitely want to see more. Every scene is beautifully framed with lovely sets and wonderful, naturalistic acting. There is a rare sense of authenticity about this movie. It is worth seeing both as an example of a terrific movie (it is genuinely compelling and entertaining) and a fascinating insight into another world.

Strongly recommended both for film buffs who want to know more about this fine director, and for anyone interested in Japanese culture.

Reviewed by crossbow0106 9 / 10

What A Cast!

While watching this film, you could be reminded of Mizoguchi's "Street Of Shame" which mined the same territory, that being a geisha house in Tokyo at the time when the government of Japan was considering outlawing prostitution. The difference between the two films is that this film is less grim, though by no means a happy film. Set almost completely in the geisha house, it tells the story of the people in it. Not all are geishas, though. Hideko Takamine plays the daughter, and she wants to get a regular job. The house itself is in debt, with the threat always looming that the mother will have to sell. The actresses in this film are excellent, and they make the film so, so good. The aforementioned Ms. Takamine, Izuzu Yamada, Kinuyo Tanaka and especially the amazing Haruko Sugimura are just great portraying the characters in this film. It is not an especially happy life, but director Naruse shows brilliantly that these ladies know how to do one thing best: survive. A near great film, on a par with "Street Of Shame", but not so foreboding. Highly recommended.

Reviewed by simon-1303 8 / 10

Interesting observation of a declining trade

This is a series of vaguely connected episodes set in and around a geisha house. Staff come and go. There are money transactions between everybody. Naruse knows this area to perfection and uses this knowledge and some tremendous actresses to portray both interesting day to day details and some of the major issues. Linked themes are the ending both of careers and of businesses in the context of a decline in the popularity of geishas and their traditional entertainment skills in post war Japan. Even less than in other Naruse films, there is little depiction of the geisha with clients and more about their 'off stage' lives.

As ever, Naruse's camera-work and editing is tremendous in capturing scenes and actions.

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