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.
In 8th-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 ... See full summary »
In post-war Japan, sixteen-year-old Eiko seeks out the geisha Miyoharu in the district of Gion, in Kyoto asking her to be a maiko (geisha apprentice). Eiko explains that her mother - who ... 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 »
Shinnosuke is introduced to Shizu as a prospective wife, but he falls in love with her widowed sister Oyu. Convention forbids Oyu to marry because she has to raise her son as the head of ... See full summary »
Utamaro, a great artist, lives to create portraits of beautiful women, and the brothels of Tokyo provide his models. A world of passion swirls around him, as the women in his life vie for ... See full summary »
Five prostitutes work at Dreamland, in Tokyo's Yoshiwara district. As the Diet considers a ban on prostitution, the women's daily dramas play out. Each has dreams and motivations. Hanae is married, her husband unemployed; they have a young child. Yumeko, a widow, uses her earnings to raise and support her son, who's now old enough to work and care for her. The aging Yorie has a man who wants to marry her. Yasumi saves money diligently to pay her debt and get out; she also has a suitor who wants to marry her, but she has other plans for him. Mickey seems the most devil-may-care, until her father comes from Kobe to bring her news of her family and ask her to come home.Written by
Mizoguchi's swan song is one of his best, personally my second favorite film after Life of Oharu. This is the story of a group of modern day prostitutes in the red light district of Tokyo. Their sad stories are basic melodramas, but they are deeply affecting nonetheless. One is working to support her sick husband and their baby; they had planned to kill themselves until she found out she was pregnant. One went into the business to support a son who now rejects disowns her as his mother. One gets out of the business by marrying, but finds that marriage is even more demeaning than prostitution. One particularly clever one is manipulating a businessman to buy her way out of the place. Another ran away from home with an American G.I. and has begun to mimic Western attitudes and dress, which is a good selling point. Machiko Kyo is the standout as Mickey, the Westernized girl. She has the single best scene, where her father comes looking for her to bring her home. It's a stock scene, really, but Mizoguchi and Machiko Kyo turn it in a direction that I really didn't expect. I was liking the film a lot before this scene without loving it, but this bit blew me away I loved every second thereafter. Scene after powerful scene lead up to one of the most amazing final shots in a film ever. Throughout the film, we are informed that politicians are trying to outlaw prostitution. In the film, it keeps failing. Due to this film that bill was finally passed.
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