26 Great Directors: Kenji Mizoguchi

“I have not yet made a film that pleases me.”

What Got This Director Here?
: Ugetsu and Sansho the Bailiff.

My Favorite Past Experience Was…: Ugetsu.

What Did I Watch: Utamaro and His Five Women.

Where Does He Fit: Utamaro and His Five Women is a flat out cheerful Mizoguchi even if it does not exactly avoid his pet themes relating to fallen women being treated like shit in Japan. The characters weave in and out of the frames, and we get one shot that looks like it was inspired by a musical, with several women throwing away their clothes in a perfect chorus line. We then return to the five in the title and the man who is giving them a second life, along with a healthy inspection of how class affects artistic impulses, but it’s delightfully chaotic.


Most Valuable Asset: Long takes that embody a certain spirit of anger.
Most Excited For: Life of Oharu.
Did They Deserve a Spot?: Yes.

Coming Up Next: America’s favorite, Steven Spielberg.


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