Special Series
Festival Award Winners, Free, Mikio Naruse, Special Events

Floating Clouds​


Directed by: Mikio Naruse
1955 / 124 minutes / Unclassified all ages

“If I can’t live with you, I will wait for you my whole life.”

Considered one of Naruse’s most acclaimed works, Floating Clouds follows the story of a married forester, Kengo (Masayuki Mori), and a young typist, Yukiko (Hideko Takamine), who start an idyllic love affair during World War II in occupied Vietnam. Fondly remembering her lover’s vow to leave his wife, she returns to Japan after the war only to find him comfortably re-established with his family and uninterested in fulfilling his idle wartime promises. But unable to remain apart, the two lovers end up caught in a relentless cyclethe bittersweet relationship between a lonely woman trying to find purpose in a long-lost passion and a man who can appreciate the value of her devotion only when it is irretrievably lost. 

Based on the novel by celebrated writer Fumiko Hayashi and winner of numerous awards, Floating Clouds explores how the most desolate aspects of human relationships can be a mirror to Japan’s post-war agony. 




Mikio Naruse: The unrivalled ethnographer of women’s life stories during The Golden Era of Japanese Cinema

Join us for a special post-film talk event with Dr Mats Karlsson (Senior Lecturer at The University of Sydney), who will discuss Floating Clouds in the context of Naruse’s filmography.

Mikio Naruse was Toho Studios’ designated director of women’s film (josei eiga) at a time when the status of women had recently been upgraded through the new constitution implemented in 1947. While discussing controversial issues pertaining to Naruse’s portrayal of women and the limits of his ‘feminism’, this talk takes a look at how his heroines negotiated these turbulent post-war times in a number of iconic films.

The Chauvel
Wednesday 14 December 2022
Screening: 18:00–20:15
Post-film talk: 20:15–20:45



MIKIO NARUSE: A Glimpse of Japan’s Unsung Master

This film is part of JFF 2022’s Special Series, which proudly presents the work of a master in Japanese filmmaking, Mikio Naruse (1905-1969).  

Naruse’s career in film spanned 1930 to 1967, during which time he made close to ninety films primarily of the shōshimin-eiga genre (dramas about the common people). His consistent direction of nuanced bodily movement, subtle gesture and prolonged side glances to express human feeling is punctuated by the superb performances of recurring actors, above all Hideko Takamine, with whom Naruse worked with on seventeen films. He focused primarily on domestic dramas and the intersection of traditional and modern culture, depicting the human struggle through an honest and sensitive lens.  

While his films have rarely been shown in Australia, Naruse is considered one of the masters of Japanese cinema alongside canonical greats Yasujirō Ozu, Kenji Mizoguchi and Akira Kurosawa.

The four films featured in this program shine a light on Naruse’s poignant observation of the growing tension surrounding familial and societal conformities in a changing, postwar era of Japana theme that pervades the director’s remarkably crafted body of work. 

See all the films in the special series HERE

1956 - Kinema Junpo Awards - Best Film, Best Director, Best Actor: Masayuki Mori, Best Actress: Hideko Takamine

1956 – Blue Ribbon Awards for Best Film

1956 – Mainichi Film Concours - Best Actress: Hideko Takamine, Best Director, Best Film, Best Sound Recording: Hisashi Shimonaga
Audience warning: contains mild violence, sexual violence and themes

Friday 11th November

Walk-ins only. Doors open 15 minutes prior to the screening.

QAGOMA, Brisbane

Sunday 20th November

Walk-ins only. Doors open 15 minutes prior to the screening.

QAGOMA, Brisbane

Sunday 4th December

ACMI, Melbourne

Wednesday 14th December

The Chauvel Cinema, Sydney

Saturday 5th November

National Film and Sound Archive, Canberra

Screens in: Brisbane, Melbourne, Sydney and Canberra

Director: Mikio Naruse

Cast: Hideko Takamine and Masayuki Mori

Genre: Special Series

Category: Festival Award Winners, Free, Mikio Naruse, Special Events

Language(s): Japanese with English subtitles

Format: 35mm b&w