Hatsuko Umabuchi is a widow who runs a prosperous geisha house in present-day Kyoto. Her daughter Yukiko returns from Tokyo following a failed suicide attempt, after her lover found out ...
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Hatsuko Umabuchi is a widow who runs a prosperous geisha house in present-day Kyoto. Her daughter Yukiko returns from Tokyo following a failed suicide attempt, after her lover found out about her mother's profession. Hatsuko is having a discreet love affair with the young Dr. Matoba, who looks after the geisha. The doctor is attracted to Yukiko, who initially despises him and everything connected with the geisha house. However, Yukiko gradually changes her views.Written by
How does a middle-aged woman hold the attention of a handsome young man when her attractive and intelligent daughter captures his attention ? Can she fight back ? Is bribery an effective tactic ? An age-old story where three top-rank actors tend to overact, but are kept in check by master director Mizoguchi. And the intensity of the main story is nicely balanced by the little day-to-day dramas of running a bawdy house. The side-story of the geisha who collapses and becomes very ill, and the appearance of her younger sister who begs to take her place because of family poverty, is touching and well-handled.
I've seen several movies made around this time on theme of geisha houses lately, and although this is one of lesser among them, I would nevertheless recommend this movie. Tanaka Kinuyo and Kuga Yoshiko are two of Japan's great actresses of the 50s, and to see them slug it out over a weak and vain young man is something to behold.
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