Mizoguchi between realism and feminism. An important film, where he reoriented his career for the better. The charge against the japanese society is a charge against men : how cruel, unfair, coward they are. Their abuse of power. But the great camera movements and the one idea = one shot are still to come. And the character are not yet so deep (maybe the film is too short). Glimpses of the master already.
En una Japón moderna (a propósito de su introducción de luces de neón), la Japón feudal parece vigente a partir de la historia de una mujer humillándose sin reconocimiento. Es el honor perdido a costa de las negligencias del hombre. Mizoguchi es constante en esa crítica sobre la posición oportunista del hombre frente a la mujer, quien es arrastrada contra voluntad a la degradación, y aquí no hay lugar a la redención.
On est encore bien loin des fameux films historiques et costumés du grand metteur en scène nippon qui lui donneront ultérieurement une exceptionnelle notoriété internationale et cinéphilique. Finesse, nuances et limpidité caractérisent cette œuvre qui évite tout manichéisme et moralisme outranciers et surnuméraires... www.cinefiches.com
Mizoguchi’s sensibilities seem quite relatable. Coming from a country which is highly patriarchal i have seen these issues and what is good about this film is the way he tells the story. He’s never too preachy about its message but he is sharp to point out the obvious oppression and make a case for sense and wisdom in a society that is blinded with false morals and hides behind its timid duality.
The emotional power is compromised by weak pacing & editing, and the poor quality of the print and DVD transfer from Eclipse, but on the level of the individual shot it's as good as almost any film. Mizoguchi renders space paradoxically: composing in diagonal depth, he expands its boundaries one way and shrinks them another. The human figures have an illusory freedom: depth without width, or width without depth.
A dark film, both in terms of story and visual style. You can tell this one was shot on the cheap, but that only adds to the effectiveness of the overall product. Mizoguchi's touch and style are just so smooth in everything, with every shot being as tasteful as one would expect from him. I might stop just short of giving it 5/5 right now, but it comes very close.
I saw this the same day as Ozu's "The Only Son", both released in 1936, and it turned out to be a master class in comparing and contrasting the styles of two of Japan's finest directors. Both had pretty much established their signature styles at this point: Mizoguchi's fluid camera next to Ozu's static one; Ozu's focus on contemporary Japanese family life and Mizguchi's on the status of women throughout history.