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Sansho the Bailiff (1954)

Sanshô dayû (original title)
Not Rated | | Drama | 1955 (USA)
In medieval 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.

Director:

Kenji Mizoguchi

Writers:

Ogai Mori (short story "Sanshô dayû"), Fuji Yahiro (screenplay) | 1 more credit »
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2 wins & 1 nomination. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Kinuyo Tanaka ... Tamaki
Yoshiaki Hanayagi ... Zushiô
Kyôko Kagawa ... Anju
Eitarô Shindô ... Sanshô dayû
Akitake Kôno Akitake Kôno ... Taro
Masao Shimizu Masao Shimizu ... Masauji Taira
Ken Mitsuda Ken Mitsuda ... Prime Minister Fujiwara
Kazukimi Okuni Kazukimi Okuni ... Norimura
Yôko Kosono ... Kohagi
Kimiko Tachibana Kimiko Tachibana ... Namiji
Ichirô Sugai ... Minister of Justice
Teruko Ômi Teruko Ômi ... Nakagimi
Masahiko Tsugawa Masahiko Tsugawa ... Young Zushio (as Masahiko Katô)
Keiko Enami ... Young Anju
Bontarô Akemi Bontarô Akemi ... Kichiji
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Storyline

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>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

A film of unparalleled beauty by the great Japanese Master Kenji Mizoguchi

Genres:

Drama

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

Japan

Language:

Japanese

Release Date:

1955 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Sansho the Bailiff See more »

Filming Locations:

Japan

Company Credits

Production Co:

Daiei Studios See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

This film is part of the Criterion Collection, spine #386. See more »

Quotes

Masauji Taira: [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.
See more »

Connections

Version of The Littlest Warrior (1961) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Sansho the Bailiff: perfect execution of dramatic story-telling
21 April 2005 | by ottffsse_sequenceSee all my reviews

This is the second film I saw by Kenji Mizoguchi (the first one being Ugetsu). Sansho the Bailiff is a gripping and moving story of the importance of ideals and virtue in a world of misery and harshness. It captured the silver lion at Venice in 1954, along with Seven Samurai. This film is a masterpiece, and Mizoguchi is one of the greatest directors of all time. His films portray the dramatic "story" perfectly. A Mizoguchi film lets you not simply watch a narrative, but feel it and experience it as well, more so than in most other movies you'll probably watch. His most moving moments, including the ending in Sansho, as well as Ugetsu, produce moments of genuine pathos in the viewer: their is no hint of over-dramatization or sentimentality. Simply stunning.

I would this film a 9.5/10, only because Ugetsu (which I gave 10/10) is more perfect in its devastation (yes, everything is relative). Watch it, treasure every moment of it, and hope a DVD will come out in the near future.


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