Ishun is a wealthy, but unsympathetic, master printer who has wrongly accused his wife and best employee of being lovers. To escape punishment, the accused run away together, but Ishun is certain to be ruined if word gets out.
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To save her brother and the ancestral house from the heavy burden of an unfulfilled debt, Osan--the noble wife of the parsimonious but reputable scroll-maker, Ishun--turns to her husband's kind-hearted employee, Mohei. However, a transparent forgery paired with a preposterous accusation will force the pair to escape from the printer's unwelcome Kyoto household, seeking refuge in 17th-century Osaka's inhospitable streets. Now, amid scandalous and disquieting rumours--and constantly under threat--Mohei and Osan seem to fight a lost battle. What fate awaits the fugitives from Chikamatsu?Written by
Beautiful, but inferior to Mizoguchi's Masterpieces
I never heard of Mizoguchi's "Chikamatsu monogatari" before until a friend of mine who loves Mizoguchi's films showed it to me recently. It is a beautiful, haunting, and emotionally involving study of forbidden love between a rigid merchant's wife, Osan, and her devoted servant, Mohei, in 17th century Kyoto. The lovers are unfairly punished for having an affair; Osan escapes her husband's home while Mohei is forced into exile. "Chikamatsu" is a highly charged work, but I'm not entirely sure if I would call it a masterpiece on par with "Zangiku monogatari", "The Life of Oharu", "Ugetsu", "Sansho dayu", and "Princess Yang Kwei Fei" - Mizoguchi's richest and most beautiful films. The photography is extraordinarily ravishing and evocative, with Mizoguchi's masterful fluid camera. Also, the sound quality of "Chikamatsu" is interestingly rich and astounding, but the film doesn't stay with you for a while like those aforementioned films. Overall, this is a minor Mizoguchi: beautiful and haunting at times, but inferior to his renowned masterpieces.
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