SATAN’S TOWN
AKUMA NO MACHI
1956, Nikkatsu, 79 min, Japan, Dir: Seijun Suzuki

Director Seijun Suzuki's third film (and his first to feature gangsters as protagonists) focuses on a boss and his henchman after they escape from prison. Suzuki shows his promise through cleverly constructed editing and bold compositions, particularly in the film's murder scenes (of which there are many). Text courtesy of Doc Films.


THE LIFE OF OHARU
SAIKAKU ICHIDAI ONNA
1952, Janus Films, 137 min, Japan, Dir: Kenji Mizoguchi

Based on one of Japan’s first novels, the 17th-century The Woman Who Loved Love by Saikaku Ihara. Kinuyo Tanaka is Oharu, a samurai’s daughter expelled from her station as a lady-in-waiting at the Imperial Palace for falling in love with a man below her rank. Driven into exile along with her parents, she soon resorts to being a kept woman, then finally a common prostitute. Mizoguchi expertly walks a tightrope, delivering an unflinching examination of a sensitive woman’s emotional brutalization without manipulative sentimentality. Another masterwork. With Ichiro Sugai and Toshiro Mifune.


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