Kenji Mizoguchi

The 47 Ronin, 1947

In the feudal society of 1701 Japan, the samurai code of honor is slowly becoming irrelevant as provincial laws, nepotism, and bureaucracy replace ritual and tradition. The elder ceremonial lord, Kira (Mantoyo Mimasu), fails to instruct Lord Asano (Yoshizaburo Arashi) on proper court etiquette (primarily due to Lord Asano’s oversight in offering a bribe to… read more »

The Story of the Last Chrysanthemum, 1939

The Story of the Last Chrysanthemum opens to a majestic shot of the Shintomi Theater in the heart of Tokyo in 1888, as a popular acting troupe performs a lush, enthusiastically received Kabuki play. Passionate about the theater and eager to perfect his craft, Kikunosuke (Shotaro Hanayagi) seems destined to continue the revered tradition of… read more »

Sisters of the Gion, 1936

Sisters of the Gion recounts the story of two geisha sisters in the working class district of Gion. The elder sister, Umekichi (Yoko Umemura) is old-fashioned and traditional, and believes in the loyal duty of a geisha to her patron. Her younger sister named Omocha (Isuza Yamada), which literally means “plaything”, is modern and unsentimental,… read more »

Osaka Elegy, 1936

Sonosuke Asai (Benkei Shiganoya), the manager of a pharmaceutical company, begins each morning with a familiar ritual: selfishly praying for “wealth and health”; harshly berating the servants; complaining of his wife’s (Yoko Umemura) untraditional behavior. Yet, having married into prominence and career, he is unable to censure her conduct, and is compelled to submit to… read more »