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Sansho Dayu (Sansho The bailiff)

Sansho Dayu (Sansho The bailiff)
Film Format: 
Mizoguchi, Kenji
Kinuyo Tanaka
Yoshiaki Hanayagi
Kyôko Kagawa, Eitarô Shindô
Film Reviews: 

A humane provincial governor in 11th century Japan is forced into exile by his political opponents, and the members of his family (wife, son and daughter) fall victim to all the cruelties of the period while on their way to join him. Mizoguchi views this deliberately simple story (in Japan it is known as a folk-tale) from two perspectives at once: from the inside, as an overwhelmingly moving account of a man (the son) facing up to his own capacity for barbarism; and from the outside, as an infinitely tender meditation on history and individual fate. The twin perspectives yield a film that is both impassioned and elegiac, dynamic in its sense of the social struggle and the moral options, and yet also achingly remote in its fragile beauty. The result is even more remarkable than it sounds.[Tony Rayns, Time Out]

Film Reviews: 

This is one of the greats, and I'm too much in awe of it to say much more than: See it—as often as you can. Kenji Mizoguchi's 1954 film is the story of a family torn apart by political upheavals in 11th-century Japan—the children sold into slavery, the mother made a courtesan, the father lost. Mizoguchi looks out on utter devastation, but gathers the threads of his narrative—the visual and aural motifs, the sublime camera movements—to weave a final image of affirmation, transcendence, eternity. With Kinuyo Tanaka, Yoshiaki Hanayagi, and Masao Shimizu; photographed by Kazuo Miyagawa. In Japanese with subtitles. 125 min.[Chicago reader]

Date Arrival: 
11 October 2003