When a civil war threatens to break out between Government forces and Saigo Rebels, two geishas flee from their village with aristocrats. During the long journey, the socially inferior women prove to be morally superior to their betters.
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Plodding, disjointed, nearly incoherent Japanese “Boule de Suif” with Yamada Isuzu as the hooker with the heart of gold. Looks great, as expected, but Mizoguchi seems completely out at sea here. Not only the one conspicuous stumble in the director's masterpiece run of the 1930s, it's easily his worst film.
This is the weakest of the Mizoguchi films I have seen, mainly due to the awkward beginning. That being said, once it gets going- it gets going. The framing is consistently beautiful throughout, and in traditional Mizoguchi fashion, we do end up sympathizing with his female leads and feel utter heartbreak for their tragedy. Overall, it was a good film!
My least favourite Mizoguchi out of those I have seen. The story just isn't as compelling enough as it needed to be and it felt awfully drawn out. However, the scene in the carriage and the dialogue at the end is very good, Yamada is good as well but it just felt like a Mizoguchi without much emotional drive. Anyway, a decent film. 3/5
The stagecoach scenes smartly remind western films, though the editing seems to be borrowed from russian cinema. I think it's a bit different from other mizoguchi's works, dealing with geishas' lives at the time of hardship.
Le cinéaste subjugue le spectateur par l'intensité des rapports de force entre les principaux protagonistes (sociaux, amoureux, militaires, moraux) et ne cesse d'intriguer par certaines soutenues connotations judéo-chrétiennes pas seulement dans l'amoralité comportementale des protagonistes mais aussi par d'explicites références imagées ou verbales qui pourraient parfois même sembler anachroniques. www.cinefiches.com