Late Chrysanthemums (Bangiku), 1954, directed by Mikio Naruse for Toho Company, Ltd. Retired geisha Kin (Haruko Sugimura) has settled into a comfortable existence as a money-lender who extracts substantial interest payments from her closest friends, Tamae (Chikako Hosokawa) and Nobu (Sadako Sawamura), both also retired geisha. When Kin learns that her former lover Tabe (Ken Uehara) is in town, she musters up as much of her old glamor as she can, only to find that the main reason for his visit is to request a loan. Kin responds with characteristic coldness, refusing to help Tabe, but in the morning weeps as she burns the old photograph she'd kept of him. Tamae and Nobu, meanwhile, suffer over their grown children who continually disappoint them. This moving portrait of geisha in their declining years is based on three short stories by Naruse's favorite author, Fumiko Hayashi, and is one of the director's mature masterpieces.
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