Altman and Truffaut spring to mind at various times in this lovely, exuberant film. Taking place in the eponymous saloon, [Twilight Saloon] offers a fondly observed group-portrait of 1950s' Japan.
One by one, the regulars of the bar appear: the pianist, who dreams of becoming a composer, but has disappeared from the music world after a knifing; a stripper, whose man has done her wrong; an elderly painter trying to make a living at playing pachinko; a young waitress considering elopement. For each of them, the Twilight Saloon is more than just a drinking hole; it is a retreat, cosily suspended between past and present, a shelter from the harsh world outside. The roaming, inquisitive camera, poignant musical numbers, and the director's sympathy with the working class and downtrodden lend the film a graceful social density. [Twilight Saloon] is a multifaceted little gem, an emotionally resonant chamber piece that delights in bringing a whole host of great characters to life.
"Resembling a poetic-realist version of Casablanca, the film is a naturalistic tour de force." - Cinema Scope
D Uchida Tomu P Eida Sei-ichiro, Okawa Hiroshi, Shintoho Kokusai-Hoei S Nada Senzo WS Toei Company Ltd L Japanese w/English subtitles TD 35mm/B&W/1955/94mins