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
The only print of CHIKAMATUS MONOGATARI I've been able to find was abysmal - I almost couldn't watch it. Which is a shame as this is among the greatest Mizoguchi films. The story - which I believe had been done before and since by other Japanese directors - is a bit straighter than my favorite Mizoguchi films (SANSHO THE BAILIFF and UGETSU MONOGATARI), and is essentially a tale of tragic romance, in this case a transgressive romance that crosses strict class boundaries. As always with Mizoguchi, there is an exquisitely expressed tone of defiance, and - bad print aside - I was very pleased. As with all of Mizoguchi's films, I'm eagerly awaiting a restored DVD release - whenever that may come...
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