Director: Noboru Nakamura, 1964, 106 min, Japan, UK Premiere, Riverside Studios
Restored to mark the centenary of Noboru Nakamura’s birth, The Shape of the Night is set to re-establish itself as a classic of Japanese cinema.
A director famous for his lavish visual style – his Twin Sisters of Kyoto was nominated for a Best Foreign Language Oscar in 1963 – Noburo Nakamura’s film sees Yoshie Nogami (an amazing Miyuki Kuwano) 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.
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