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Frau Oyu
Kenji Mizoguchi Japan, 1951
Mizoguchi’s film is inscribed with a rare urgency that is nonetheless balanced by humanist understanding, an understanding that is remarkable even for him.
September 20, 2006
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Mizoguchi enriches reformist grit with the spiritual heft of his period work for a farewell balance of hope and despair.
July 10, 2006
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While it was probably inevitable that Mizoguchi should return to his favourite subject in his last film – courtesans and their floating world – Street of Shame is one last, devastating look at how life’s cruelties are especially hard on women in Japan.
October 28, 2004
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This art to modulate the distance between gaze and bodies, to make the gaze a body and the body a ghost. This art to take somedistance (as we say), to place the pathetic detail back into the wider glaze, to film only to verify that what was irremediable has indeed happened, that any thinking is wishful, that defeat is the only reality, and that compassion is the last possible feeling.
April 10, 1987
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The visual style seems stripped, purified, as it often does in the last films of great stylists, and there’s a growly toughness to it that doesn’t seem like the Mizoguchi of old. It’s possible that, had Mizoguchi lived, he would have parlayed this line into yet another stylistic breakthrough, though standing in isolation it’s difficult to read. Well worth seeing, if only as a challenge.
January 01, 1980
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