Noburo Nakamura’s film sees Yoshie Nogami work as a factory worker by day, while moonlighting as a bar hostess at night. Seduced by regular Eiji Kitami, she begins a passionate love affair, until Eiji’s demeanor changes and she is slowly forced into a life of prostitution. Living a life of despair, she eventually meets building engineer Fujii, who urges her to go straight and run away with him. But this swooning, tragic drama has other plans in store for her. A genuine rediscovery, The Shape of the Night is one of Japan’s great female-centered melodramas, to rank alongside those of Ozu, Imamura and Naruse.
Director: Noburo Nakamura. AKA 夜の片鱗 / Shape of the Night
Writers: Toshidi Gondo (screenplay), Kyoko Ohta (novel).
Stars: Miyuki Kuwano, Mikijirô Hira, Keisuke Sonoi, Masuyo Iwamoto, Misako Tominaga, Bunta Sugawara, Isao Kimura.
PLEASE give us more films from this director – in particular his two Oscar-nominated masterpieces:
“Chieko-Sho” and “Koto” plus the sublim “Sekishun”
No Japanese director is more deserving of being rediscovered than Naboru Nakamura – they should do a box with these three films – including international subtitles. It is a disgrace than they are still not available for international audiences.
What an incredible cute beauty Miyuki Kuwano was! I ‘ve seen her in an Ozu-movie and will search for more of her work.
What happens to her? Does anyone know? She could still be alive? Born in 1942 she worked in movies from the tender age of 13 (1955) to 1967, but at 25 she seems to have quit. Why? What happened?
This one is great, 9/10!
Miyuki Kuwano was the daughter of the star actress Michiko Kuwano, nicknamed “Mitch,” who was popular during the 1930s and appeared in films by, among others, Ozu and Hiroshi Shimizu. Right after the war, she died tragically on the set of Mizoguchi’s The Victory of Women from complications due to an ectopic pregnancy. At the time, her daughter Miyuki was about 2 years old. After becoming an actress, Miyuki, like her mother, appeared in films by Ozu (Equinox Flower, Late Autumn), but was much more strongly associated with the Japanese New Wave, particularly Oshima (Cruel Story of Youth). Director Nakamura, though part of Kurosawa’s generation, not Oshima’s, allegedly made this film as a response to the innovations of the New Wave. Miyuki made her final movies in 1967. I don’t know why she stopped working, but she may well have retired to get married, as many young actresses at the time did. As far as anybody knows, she’s still alive today at 80 years old.