Mikio Naruse's 1954 film is a masterpiece of narrative construction, weaving together three short stories by Fumiko Hayashi to produce a panoramic portrait of three aging geishas. In the last half hour Naruse abandons narrative concerns completely and simply cuts back and forth between two extended scenes, developing tonal rhythms and contrasts as one geisha confronts a former lover and her two friends try to console each other for the loss of their children. Naruse's characteristic mood--a sense of constant movement without advancement--here reaches its formal apotheosis. With Haruko Sugimura, Yuko Mochizuki, and Chikako Hosokawa. In Japanese with subtitles. 101 min. Sat 2/25, 3 PM, Gene Siskel Film Center.