In Tokyo in 1888, Kikunosuke Onoue, the adoptive son of an important actor, discovers that he is praised for his acting only because he is his father's heir, and that the troupe complains ... See full summary »
Two young brothers become the leaders of a gang of kids in their neighborhood. Their father is an office clerk who tries for advancement by playing up his boss. When the boys visit the boss... See full summary »
In 1701, Lord Takuminokami Asano has a feud with Lord Kira and he tries to kill Kira in the corridors of the Shogun's palace. The Shogun sentences Lord Asano to commit suppuku and deprives ... See full summary »
In 1923, in the province of Shinshu, the widow and simple worker of a silk factory Tsune Nonomiya (O-Tsune) decides to send her only son to Tokyo for having a better education. Thirteen ... See full summary »
Kiyone Sakurai, an apprentice swordmaker makes a sword for his guardian, Kozaemon Onoda. Onoda breaks the sword while defending his lord which eventually leads to his death at the hands of ... See full summary »
In Tokyo, Osen is the servant girl of an unscrupulous antiques dealer, Kumazawa, who takes in the penniless Sokichi Hata. Kumazawa mistreats Sokichi and Osen, while swindling some Buddhist ... See full summary »
A socially committed film about the feudal state of many Japanese women in 1946. Hiroko Hosokawa, a female lawyer, defends Mrs. Asakura, who suffocated her child in her grief after her ... See full summary »
In Tokyo in 1888, Kikunosuke Onoue, the adoptive son of an important actor, discovers that he is praised for his acting only because he is his father's heir, and that the troupe complains how bad he is behind his back. The only person to talk to him honestly about his acting is Otoku, the wet-nurse of his adoptive father's child. She is fired by the family, and Kikunosuke is forbidden to see her, because of the gossip a relationship with a servant would cause. Kikunosuke falls in love with Otoku, and leaves home to try to make a living on his own merits outside Tokyo. He is eventually joined by Otoku, who encourages him to become a famous actor to regain the recognition of his family. Written by
Along with "Sisters of the Gion"(1936) and "Osaka Elegy"(1936), "Zangiku monogatari" is a strong candidate for Kenji Mizoguchi's finest pre-war film. It is one of the greatest and most beautiful films I have ever seen - a profoundly sublime, heartbreaking love story between a Kabuki actor(Shotaro Hanayagi) and working class servant (Kakuko Mori) who makes sacrifices to herself to ensure his theatrical success. The film, filled with dazzling long takes and rich Sternbergian compositions, centers on Mizoguchi's characteristic theme: the shallowness of men and the generosity of women. Rarely has a Mizoguchi film seem at once so sublime and devastating in its impact. The final sequence alone is among the finest in all of cinema.
My favorite Mizoguchi remains "The Life of Oharu"(1952); "Zangiku monogatari" is not very far behind.
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