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Set in post-war Japan, The Lady of Musashino tells the story of Michiko, a disillusioned young woman trapped in a loveless marriage. She confides in her younger cousin, Tsutomo, and the two become close.
In 17th century Kyoto, Osan is married to Ishun, a wealthy miserly scroll-maker. When Osan is falsely accused of having an affair with the best worker, Mohei, the pair flee the city and declare their love for each other. Ishun orders his men to find them, and separate them to avoid public humiliation. Written by
Nothing is more unpredictable than a person's fate
Set in 17th century Japan, and based on a 1715 play by Chikamatsu Monzaemon (hence the title, 'A Story From Chikamatsu'), this film starts with a rich scroll-maker (Eitarō Shindō) refusing to give his wife (Kyōko Kagawa) money. When she turns to one of his top apprentices (Kazuo Hasegawa), she sets in motion of a chain of events that ultimately have them fleeing together, because the apprentice, normally a virtuous man, intended to take the money from the scroll-maker and was caught.
The story reveals emotion and desire that is both on the surface, such as the scroll-maker sexually harassing a young servant (Yōko Minamida), as well as that which is concealed. It shows us the randomness of events which may cause everything to suddenly change in one's life; as the wife puts it at one point, "Nothing is more unpredictable than a person's fate. In just one day, all of this has happened to us." If you've ever had your life flip suddenly because of love, you'll identify.
The film also shows the all-too-common fate of women; the advice given to the young servant being harassed is to "Just take it. That's the duty of an employee." Adultery is also blamed first and foremost on the women ("It's frightening what women are capable of"), and it's ominous when a couple of adulterers are being led through the town to be crucified early on in the film.
It's a solid film throughout the cast is strong, the story is well told, and there are some gorgeous scenes, one of which is in a bamboo forest. I don't think it's going to blow you away, but it's a good one.
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