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The Life of Oharu (1952)

Saikaku ichidai onna (original title)
Not Rated | | Drama | 20 April 1964 (USA)
Follows a woman's fight and survival amid the vicissitudes of life and the cruelty of the society.

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Writers:

(novel), | 1 more credit »
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2 wins & 1 nomination. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
Tsukie Matsuura ...
Tomo, Oharu's Mother
Ichirô Sugai ...
Shinzaemon, Oharu's Father
...
Katsunosuke
Toshiaki Konoe ...
Lord Harutaka Matsudaira
Kiyoko Tsuji ...
Landlady
Hisako Yamane ...
Lady Matsudaira
Jûkichi Uno ...
Yakichi Ogiya
Eitarô Shindô ...
Kahe Sasaya
Akira Ôizumi ...
Fumikichi, Sasaya's Friend
Kyôko Kusajima ...
Sodegaki
Masao Shimizu ...
Kikuoji
Daisuke Katô ...
Tasaburo Hishiya
Toranosuke Ogawa ...
Yoshioka
Hiroshi Oizumi ...
Manager Bunkichi
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Storyline

A fifty-year-old prostitute, no longer able to attract men, looks back on her sad life. Once a lady-in-waiting at the imperial court at Kyoto, Oharu fell in love with, and became the lover of, a man below her station. They were discovered, and Oharu and her family were exiled. For Oharu there followed a life filled with one sorrow and humiliation after another. Written by George S. Davis <mgeorges@prodigy.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Drama

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

20 April 1964 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Diary of Oharu  »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

This film, which was director Kenji Mizoguchi's dream project, was severely under-financed, and the production was forced to use a warehouse instead of a regular sound stage. This warehouse happened to be located near railways, and each time a train passed by, they had to stop shooting, which made the shooting of the film even more difficult with the director's obsessive use of long, continuous, uninterrupted takes. The same warehouse was also used for Josef Von Sternberg's film 'The Saga of Anatahan'. See more »

Quotes

Katsunosuke: Lady Oharu, a human being - no, woman - can only be happy if she marries for love. Rank and money don't mean happiness.
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Crazy Credits

Opening credits shown over Japanese artwork/water-colors. See more »

Connections

Featured in Écoute voir... (1979) See more »

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User Reviews

***** Well worth seeing
22 February 2000 | by (Toronto, Ontario) – See all my reviews



Kenji Mizoguchi's stunning masterpiece is a heartbreaking tale of purity in a world of corruption. Based on a seventeenth-century novel by Saikaku Ihara called The Woman Who Loved Love, the film tells the story of Oharu, a young woman who in her younger days worked as a lady-in-waiting at the Imperial Palace of Kyoto, but having fallen in love with a man below her rank is expelled from the palace, and she and her parents are forced to live in exile. Try as she might to find love in her relationships, she is constantly thwarted by her society's low expectations for a woman's heart and her father's ambitions for respectability, and soon descends to being a concubine, later a streetwalking prostitute. Mizoguchi's tones are so gentle and poetic that every frame works its way into your heart, and in such a delicate manner. Kinuyo Tanaka's performance as Oharu is beautiful as well, abandoning the melodramatic gestures common to Japanese film acting and going straight for the heart. Sumptuous production design and a decidedly feminist message make a film well worth seeing.


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