In eighth century China, the Emperor is grieving over the death of his wife. The Yang family wants to provide the Emperor with a consort so that they may consolidate their influence over ... See full summary »
What is the life of a Geisha like once her beauty has faded and she has retired? Kin has saved her money, and has become a wealthy money-lender, spending her days cold-heartedly collecting ... 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 »
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 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 ... See full summary »
Shinobu and her brother Genichiro plead with the famous swordsman Musashi Miyamoto to teach them swordsmanship to avenge their father's death. The killers of their father see the sister and... See full summary »
Hatsuko Umabuchi is a widow who runs a prosperous geisha house in present day Kyoto. Her daughter Yukiko returns from Tokyo following a failed suicide attempt, after her lover found out ... See full summary »
In eighth century China, the Emperor is grieving over the death of his wife. The Yang family wants to provide the Emperor with a consort so that they may consolidate their influence over the court. General An Lushan finds a distant relative working in their kitchen whom they groom to present to the Emperor. The Emperor falls in love with her and she becomes the Princess Yang Kwei-fei. The Yangs are then appointed important ministers, though An Lushan is not given the court position he covets. The ministers misuse their power so much that there is a popular revolt against all the Yangs, fueled by An Lushan. Written by
I remember seeing this film more than two years ago, and while the entire story is not very memorable (I could probably not tell everything that happens in it now, which is perhaps more my fault than the filmmaker), I have a fond memory of seeing it in visual beauty. Kenji Mizogichi, a filmmaker I admire from Ugetsu, has here a very lushly made film, with perfectly constructed sets that spark a tinge of both fable and centuries-gone reality, and costumes that compliment the color photography. And that part, of capturing the images, is maybe the best thing that can be recommendable about the film. For a film about a Princess who was once lower on the ranks in the Emperor's home and becomes the Emperor's love interest, it provides such opportunities for a real vision to set in to guide it all.
Mizoguchi provides it with his cinematographer Kôhei Sugiyama in order sometimes for the film to be told almost all on visual terms (the filmmaker was most prolific in the silent-film era). So in the end, even as the story becomes a little cluttered with some scenes, it's never too complex due to the basics that the filmmaker is going for- and probably why it was picked up by Buena Vista distribution in the 1950s- a beautiful scope of Japan's regal side mixed with some of the lower classes. It's like a Shakespearean tale if it was superimposed into Japan and given a touch of that lost-era of color photography that was only matched by Powell/Pressburger's films.
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