Hikaru Onna
1987 / 118m - Japan
Luminous Woman poster


April 16, 2023


Somai is one of Japan's forgotten treasures. It took me long enough to (re)discover this interesting director, but I'm a fan now. Even his older films are still pretty appealing. Point in case: Luminous Woman. This underseen film is a challenging romance with some eye-popping beautiful scenes, right up my alley.

A rugged mountain man travels from Hokkaido to Tokyo to reconnect with the woman he loves, once there things go differently than he expected. He discovers she has fallen for a shady club owner. Meanwhile, the man encounters a pop singer who wants to make it big into the opera scene.

Interesting characters, solid performances, and superb cinematography make Luminous Woman quite the treat. It's a tad too slow and long to be a true personal favorite, but some of the scenes are absolutely stunning and will be burnt on my retinas forever. This film puts me halfway through Somai's oeuvre, I'll be making sure to get through the other half too.