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The Life of Oharu

  • Drama
  • 1952
  • Kenji Mizoguchi
  • 130 mins
  • PG

Summary

Period melodrama starring Kinuyo Tanaka and Toshiro Mifune. In 17th-century Japan, a samurai's daughter finds her beauty to be both her fortune and misfortune, as she progresses down the social scale from a lady of the court to prostitute.

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Review

A star rating of 5 out of 5.

One of the great works from the greatest of Japanese directors, this episodic, tragic melodrama traces the life of a woman living under the severe moral code of the Genroku era in late 17th-century Japan. Played by Kinuyo Tanaka (who appeared in 11 Mizoguchi films and later became the first woman to direct a Japanese film), Oharu suffers a catalogue of injustices, most of them arbitrary and accidental, others of her own doing. The film, which won the Silver Lion at Venice in 1952, is informed by a Buddhist view of the world that acknowledges the impermanence of everything, especially happiness. Shot in long, beautiful takes, it is more devastating than depressing.

How to watch

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Credits

Cast

rolename
OharuKinuyo Tanaka
KatsunosukeToshiro Mifune
KikuojiMasao Shimizu
ShinzaemonIchiro Sugai
Tomo, motherTsukue Matsuura
Landlady of an innKiyoko Tsuji
Harutaka MatsudairaToshiaki Konoe
Lady MatsudairaHisaka Yamane
Kabee SasayaEitaro Shindo
YakichiJukichi Uno

Crew

rolename
DirectorKenji Mizoguchi

Details

Theatrical distributor
Artificial Eye
Released on
2003-12-19
Languages
Japanese
Available on
video, DVD and Blu-ray
Formats
Black and white
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