Kenji Mizoguchi

Reframing Japanese Cinema: Authorship, Genre, History, edited by Arthur Nolletti Jr. and David Desser

Reframing Japanese Cinema provides a comprehensive and varied perspective on Japanese cinema through a series of essays on a director’s signature style (authorship), culturally representative film genres, and historical evolution of the Japanese film industry. Of the three sections on Authorship, Genre, and History, the articles on Authorship provide the most revealing insight into the… read more »

Patterns of Time: Mizoguchi and the 1930s by Donald Kirihara

In the book Patterns of Time: Mizoguchi and the 1930s, Donald Kirihara recounts a legendary episode at the Venice Film Festival that sets the tone for Kenji Mizoguchi’s unique and unforgettable films: When in Venice in 1963 for the festival screening of Ugetsu, he spoke of the film as a representative of Japan’s aesthetic tradition…. read more »

Japanese Film Directors by Audie Bock

Audie Bock presents a collection of perceptive, knowledgeable, and comprehensive critical essays on the most influential and distinctive filmmakers of Japan in Japanese Film Directors. Bock chronologically explores the personal influences and cinematic contributions of several acclaimed film directors, and in the process, provides an intelligent observation on the profound effects of changing political, social,… read more »

Street of Shame, 1956

The red light district of Yoshiwara in 1956 bears little resemblance to its evocative tradition as the place “where flowery courtesans, romantic and proud gloried in years gone by”. The government has waged an annual campaign to ban prostitution, but in the uncertainty and devastation of postwar Japan, it is a tragic and ignoble reality… read more »

Crucified Lovers, 1954

In 1683 Kyoto, at the house of Ishun (Eitarô Shindô) the grand scroll maker, the printers are busy assembling the calendars for the imperial court in the absence of their senior artist, a diligent and conscientious worker named Mohei (Kazuo Hasegawa). Suffering from a lingering cold, Mohei has been working from the privacy of his… read more »

Sansho the Bailiff, 1954

In the austere society of ancient Japan, a beloved, altruistic provincial governor defies an order from the general of the reigning feudal lord to provide additional men for the army, and is forced into exile. In his parting words to his young son, he provides a fundamental principle with which to govern his life: “Without… read more »

A Geisha, 1953

A naive, idealistic young woman named Eiko (Ayako Wakao) ventures into the Gion district in search of her late mother’s geisha “sister” – an independent-minded, and old-fashioned geisha named Miyoharu (Michiyo Kogure). Shamed by her uncle for her disreputable social status and disowned by her burdensome, ailing father, Sawamoto (Eitaro Shindo), Eiko has turned to… read more »

Ugetsu, 1953

In the provincial village of Ohmi, in the era of the Countries in War feudal war, Genjuro (Masayuki Mori) leaves his wife Miyagi (Kinuyo Tanaka) and son in order to undertake a dangerous trip to the city where he can profit from the widespread shortage by selling his pottery. He is accompanied by his well… read more »

Life of Oharu, 1952

In 17th century Kyoto, a beautiful, young lady-in-waiting, Oharu (Kinuyo Tanaka), falls in love with a low ranking page, Katsunosuke, (Toshiro Mifune). During a raid on a local lodging house, their affair is discovered, leading to her family’s exile, and Katsunosuke’s execution. When Lord Matsudaira (Toshiaki Konoe) dispatches an attendant from Edo to seek out… read more »

Utamaro and His Five Women, 1946

Utamaro and His Five Women opens to a languid tracking shot of a formal procession of men and women performing a near static, ceremonial dance. The setting is the Tokugawa Era of late eighteenth century Japan, and the impassive courtship is a reflection of the rigid class structure and behavioral code instilled during their feudal… read more »