The mother of a feudal lord's only heir is kidnapped away from her husband by the lord. The husband and his samurai father must decide whether to accept the unjust decision, or risk death to get her back.
Apu is a jobless ex-student dreaming vaguely of a future as a writer. An old college friend talks him into a visit up-country to a village wedding. This changes his life, for when the ... See full summary »
An elder ronin samurai arrives at a feudal lord's home and requests an honorable place to commit suicide. But when the ronin inquires about a younger samurai who arrived before him things take an unexpected turn.
How do we understand faith and prayer, and what of miracles? August 1925 on a Danish farm. Patriarch Borgen has three sons: Mikkel, a good-hearted agnostic whose wife Inger is pregnant, ... See full summary »
Carl Theodor Dreyer
Emil Hass Christensen,
Preben Lerdorff Rye
In mediaeval Japan a compassionate governor is sent into exile. His wife and children try to join him, but are separated, and the children grow up amid suffering and oppression. Written by
David Levene <D.S.Levene@durham.ac.uk>
'Kenji Mizoguchi' initially intended to center the film around Sansho, the Slavelord. However, the film ended up with the sad story of Zushio and Anju as its narrative, dramatic center. See more »
[Speaking to his son Zushio on the verge of being exiled and separated from his family]
Zushio, I wonder if you'll become a stubborn man like me. You may be too young to understand, but hear me out anyway. Without mercy, man is like a beast. Even if you are hard on yourself, be merciful to others. Men are created equal. Everyone is entitled to their happiness.
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"Sansho the Bailiff" (Japanese, 1954): Kenji Mizoguchi made an epic film from what was (apparently) a centuries-old Japanese morality tale. We watch a well-to-do family slowly disintegrate - not from events they cause, but those out of their control. How they each react, how they deal with the passing years and events, and how they find solutions (if any) are powerful, emotional, lessons in life. Can a half-century old Japanese film be useful to a contemporary American audience? Of course it can. Human issues of love, devotion, honor, greed, lust, hate, violence, sadness, and revenge are, if anything, in further need of consideration and dealing. To enhance these thoughts, the musical scoring is superb (I love classical Japanese music), the photography is in gorgeous black/gray/white with artful composing, the pacing is patient and more explanatory than many Japanese films (perhaps Mizoguchi had foreign audiences in mind which I appreciate!), and I often felt like I was watching delicate woodcut prints come to life.
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