Bangiku (Late Chrysanthemums) (1954)
Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.
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Critic Reviews for Bangiku (Late Chrysanthemums)
Directed with compassion, feeling and clarity by the great Mikio Naruse.
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Audience Reviews for Bangiku (Late Chrysanthemums)
I do love Naruse, but maybe I missed something about this film. All the ideas are there. It follows a groupof retired geisha, each trying to survive in the world past their prime. One has saved money and has become a scrupulous business woman. She lends money, but demands it back in a friendly, casual, but threatening way. Her old friends hold her in contempt, and believe she thinks she is better than them now. She has erased men from her life and she holds this as the reason to her success. Needless to say, some old flames soon arrive and she flirts with the idea of love once again. The film isn't bad, just very dull. I love my slow movies, but this was all talking. Everyone just says what they think, feel, and so on. It makes for a very bland movie experience. Especially when two characters spell out the films message at the end. I know this film was adapted from a number of short stories, and it kind of shows. Though these would work better bas articles. Don't start your Naruse viewing with this, as he has some incredible movies out there.
Though his quiet films are often compared to Ozu, Mikio Naruse is really the Japanese George Cukor crossed with the existential concerns of Ingmar Begman. He loves strong women's stories, especially those of aging or retired geishas and working class moms. Men are seen as good for nothing womanizing drunks and leeches. Feminist cinema, Far Eastern style.
[font=Century Gothic]In "Late Chrysanthemums", Okin is a former geisha living in Tokyo who now works as the unfriendly neighborhood loanshark and is involved in other sundry business efforts. Amongst her customers are various former colleagues of hers. One is a gambler with a daughter who is engaged to be married. Another works in a hotel with a son who is having an affair with an older woman. A third runs her own cafe. Meanwhile, two men out of Okin's past are about to reappear in her life...[/font] [font=Century Gothic][/font] [font=Century Gothic]"Late Chrysanthemums" is an insightful look into a country in transition.(For example, look at the mix of western and traditional styles of clothing.) Money is certainly an overriding issue for all of the characters. The film could have been more focused, though.[/font]
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