Special Series
Festival Award Winners, Free, Mikio Naruse



Directed by: Mikio Naruse
1964 / 98 minutes / Unclassified all ages

The tragic catharsis of forbidden love

Released in Naruse’s later years, Yearning is essential viewing for fans of the filmmaker’s brand of tragic melodrama. Long after losing her husband in the war, widower Reiko Morita (Hideko Takamine) continues to operate her mother-in-law’s grocery store out of love. But when a new supermarket chain threatens to squeeze them out of business, Reiko faces pressure to move on and sell the store. Matters are made even more complicated when she learns of her younger brother-in-law Koji’s (Yūzō Kayama) repressed love for her… 

Set against the backdrop of modernisation in post-war Japan, Yearning explores some of Naruse’s most dominant themes, including doomed romance and the struggles of the lower-middle class. With stunning chemistry between the leads Hideko Takamine and Yūzō Kayama, the film’s narrative gradually builds to reveal a devastating and unforgettable climax. 



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

1964 - Locarno International Film Festival - Silver Sail Award for Best Actress: Hideko Takamine
Audience warning: contains mild themes including suicide

Sunday 13th November

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

QAGOMA, Brisbane

Friday 18th November

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

QAGOMA, Brisbane

Saturday 3rd December

ACMI, Melbourne

Tuesday 13th December

The Chauvel Cinema, Sydney

Sunday 6th November

National Film and Sound Archive, Canberra

Screens in: Brisbane, Melbourne, Sydney and Canberra

Director: Mikio Naruse

Cast: Hideko Takamine and Yūzō Kayama

Genre: Special Series

Category: Festival Award Winners, Free, Mikio Naruse

Language(s): Japanese with English subtitles

Format: 35mm b&w