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Sansho the Bailiff
     

Sansho the Bailiff

5.0 2
Director: Kenji Mizoguchi

Cast: Kinuyo Tanaka, Kyoko Kagawa, Eitaro Shindo

 

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Kenji Mizoguchi's masterpiece opens in 11th-century Japan with an aristocratic woman Tamaki traveling through the woods with her daughter Anju, son Zushio, and maid. Through flashbacks, we learn that her husband, Taira no Masauji, was a local governor who was exiled because of his honesty and integrity. Before he leaves, he gives his son an amulet of Kannon, the

Overview

Kenji Mizoguchi's masterpiece opens in 11th-century Japan with an aristocratic woman Tamaki traveling through the woods with her daughter Anju, son Zushio, and maid. Through flashbacks, we learn that her husband, Taira no Masauji, was a local governor who was exiled because of his honesty and integrity. Before he leaves, he gives his son an amulet of Kannon, the goddess of mercy, and tells him, "Without mercy, man is like a beast. Men are created equal, everyone is entitled to happiness." On their journey to reunite with their husband/father, they are ambushed by kidnappers, who sell the mother as a prostitute and the two children as slaves to the corrupt Sansho (Eitaro Shindo). As adults, Zushio (Yoshiaki Hanayagi) and his sister Anju (Kyoko Kagawa) continue to toil as servants. Anju learns that her mother has become a courtesan on remote Sado-island. Though Zushio became Sansho's most trusted and most brutal aide; he manages to escape at Anju's behest. He finds sanctuary at a local monastery while Anju, looking to avoid the inevitably violent retribution, drowns herself in a lake. Seeking justice, Zushio petitions the Prime Minister, a desperate act that usually results in imprisonment or death. Yet his pleas prove more successful than he ever dreamed. When he finally has the power to thwart evil Sansho and reunify his family, he learns that he is tragically too late.

Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide - Jonathan Crow
On its French release in 1960, Sansho the Bailiff was ranked by Cahiers du cinéma as the best film of the year, topping such classics as Breathless, L'avventura, and Psycho. Critics were struck by the film's gorgeous photography, elegant camerawork, and exotic settings and by Kenji Mizoguchi's signature use of imagery that quietly evokes a spiritual transcendence above the suffering of the material world. Unlike Akira Kurosawa's frequent use of close-ups and fast-paced editing, Mizoguchi, here as elsewhere, keeps his camera distant and his takes long, resulting in a contemplative style in which the characters' suffering and pain seem vivid, yet small compared with the immutability of the landscape. The result is a film that is thoroughly engaging up to its devastating finale. Though it was initially more popular in the West than in Japan, this masterpiece has since been widely recognized as one of Mizoguchi's most beautiful works.

Product Details

Release Date:
02/26/2013
UPC:
0715515102315
Original Release:
1954
Rating:
NR
Source:
Criterion
Region Code:
A
Presentation:
[B&W]
Sound:
[Dolby Digital Mono]
Time:
2:04:00
Sales rank:
25,054

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Kinuyo Tanaka Tamaki
Kyoko Kagawa Anju
Eitaro Shindo Sansho
Yoshiaki Hanayagi Zushio
Ichiro Sugai Minister of Justice
Masahiko Tsugawa Zushio as a Boy
Akitake Kono Taro
Masao Shimizu Masauji Taira
Ken Mitsuda Prime Minister Morozane Fujiwara
Chieko Naniwa Ubatake
Kikue Mori Priestess
Ryosuke Kagawa Ritsushi Kumotake

Technical Credits
Kenji Mizoguchi Director
Fumio Hayasaka Score Composer
Kisaku Ito Art Director
Kazuo Miyagawa Cinematographer
Mitsuji Miyata Editor
Tamekichi Mochizuki Score Composer
Masaichi Nagata Producer
Kannahichi Odera Score Composer
Fuji Yahiro Screenwriter
Yoshikata Yoda Screenwriter

Scene Index

Audio Commentary Featuring Japanese-Literature Scholar Jeffrey Angles; Interviews With Critic Tadao Sato, Assistant Director Tokuzo Tanaka, And Actress Kyoko Kagawa On The Making Of The Film And Its Lasting Importance

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Sansho the Bailiff 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago