Osen works as a servant girl for an unscrupulous dealer, Kumazawa, who takes in the penniless Sokichi Hata. When Kumazawa is arrested, Osen agrees to help Sokichi finance his dream of going to medical school.
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There are problems with the characterizations - the villains do everything short of twirling their mustaches; the film's good boy spends most of his time weeping and staring groundward, bereft of all but chastest thoughts for lovely Osen - and the "boy" is played by an actor who's far too old. But all this: beside the point. Mizoguchi's most autobiographical film is glorious cinema, all reservations fall away.
Mizoguchi's last Silent film (though the version I saw did have somewhat distracting 'benshi' narration and a music track) has one of the most beautiful openings in all of cinema as a faded-looking woman (the sublime Isuzu Yamada) and an undistinguished-looking man wait separately at a suburban railway station in the pouring rain before the first of several flashbacks to their earlier life together begins. Masterly..