Yoko Sugi in person! (feat. When A Woman Ascends The Stairs)

Co-presented by The Japanese American Cultural and Community Center

Starting her career as one of the cutie chorus girls in Kurosawa’s Drunken Angel, Yoko Sugi was a beautiful starlet in the ‘50s Japanese studio system, lighting up the screen for directing lumiaries Kon Ichikawa and Mikio Naruse. Lucky for us, Yoko lives here in L.A., and loves to share tales about the heydey of the Japanese film world. Join us for a live Q&A with Yoko after the film! When a woman runs her own business, and when a woman must wager her need for security, the demands of her family weigh the heaviest against her soul. Overlooked Japanese master Mikio Naruse (considered in his homeland an equal of Ozu and Mizoguchi, but relatively unknown on these shores) here gives us a clean-lined, jazz-fueled flipside version of the weepy “women’s pictures” that Douglas Sirk made here in America, soaking handkerchieves aplenty in orgasmic grief. Shot in gorgeous Tohoscope, Naruse’s tale of “Mama” (Hideko Takamine), a Ginza district bar hostess constantly caught between her integrity and survival, brings us performances from The Seven Samurai’s Daisuke Kato, and a young Tatsuya Nakadai, who would soon catch the world’s attention in Yojimbo.

Dir. Mikio Naruse, 1960, 35mm, 111 min. (Archival 35mm print courtesy of the Japan Foundation)

Watch the trailer for “When A Woman Ascends The Stairs”!

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