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 ...
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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 »
Special Forces commander Captain Tadamori returns to Kyoto after successfully defeating the uprising of pirates in the western sea of Japan. But because the high courtiers dislike career ... 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 »
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.
Young servant girl Hamako has just started working for her personal heroine, Madame Yuki. Her romanticized view of the Madame is broken immediately, as she is introduced with a list of the Madame's personal problems.
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 »
Set in post-war Japan, The Lady of Musashino tells the story of Michiko, a disillusioned young woman trapped in a loveless marriage. She confides in her younger cousin, Tsutomo, and the two become close.
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 court. General An Lushan finds a close relative working in their kitchen whom they groom to present to the Emperor. The Emperor falls in love with her and she becomes the Princess Yang Kwei-fei. The Yangs are then appointed important ministers, though An Lushan is not given the court position he covets. The ministers misuse their power so much that there is a popular revolt against all the Yangs, fueled by An Lushan.Written by
Will Gilbert and Brian McInnis
Now comes the latest, and very possibly the greatest, in the magnificent Japanese tradition...the story of a serving girl too beautiful to be true...who steps into history...in a motion picture too beautiful to miss! See more »
The Empress is dead, and Chinese Emperor Masayuki Mori mourns endlessly. Scullery maid Machiko Kyô is chosen by her relatives and trained to please the Emperor, but it is her frankness as much as her beauty which pleases him. When she is made his consort, however, her relatives call in favors for wealth and position, until the populace demand their deaths, and hers.
It's another of Kenji Mizoguchi's beautifully made and exquisite dramas, full of long, slow moving shots, and actors who move silently, but movingly. Mizoguchi had started as a performer of women's roles. When he began to direct in the early 1920s, he directed these pictures, because, as he later said, "When I was working for Nikkatsu, the company already had Murata Minoru making films featuring heroes, so for balance they made me do films featuring heroines. Also, I am very quarrelsome and so when I work there is always the possibility of a fight, but I can't very well slug an actress." He was another of those tough, artistic directors who feigned a low-brow attitude, like John Ford.
I thought there was much that was ambiguous about Miss Kyô's character here. Is she being honest, or frank? Are her actions in returning to her humble origins honest, or a miscalculated power play? Is my uncertainty because I am a cynical westerner, not the intended audience, or because that is how Mizoguchi intended me to think?
Regardless of how I react to the story raised to the level of fantastic legend of this movie, it certainly is a beautiful thing to look at. For the moment, that's enough.
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