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THE LADY OF MUSASHINO
aka MUSASHINO FUJIN
Cast: Kiyoko Hirai, Akihiko Katayama, Masayuki Mori, Minako Nakamura, Satoshi Nishida, Reiko Otani, Noriko Sengoku, EitarO ShindO, Kinuyo Tanaka, Yukiko Todoroki, Michiko Tsuyama, SO Yamamura
Director: Kenji Mizoguchi
Language: Japanese (English subtitles)
UK: 88 mins
UK Certificate: PG
UK Release Date: 19 December 2003 (Limited Re-release)
An atmospheric evocation of post war Japan exploring the climate of social and economic change, THE LADY OF MUSASHINO tells the story of Michiko (Kinuyo Tanaka), a disillusioned young wife, trapped in a loveless marriage to her philandering husband (Masayuki Mori). Starved of any real affection, Michiko turns to her cousin (Akihiko Katayama), only to become entangled in a destructive affair. Ultimately let down by both men, Michiko in her desperation decides to take her fate into her own hands...
Tackling difficult social themes straight on, Mizoguchi's unflinching realism portrays the personal dramas within these fully detailed historical settings. His one abiding theme was a sympathy for the exploited and marginalised members of society, in particular the plight of women and their position in Japanese society. After winning the Silver Lion Award at the 1952 Venice Film Festival, with this film, Mizoguchi became an idol for the French New Wave.
Bringing a rich, almost textural realism to the cinema, Mizoguchi's films bear a palpable sense of atmosphere, incorporating all elements of design from the meticulously detailed mise-en-scene and intricate sound and lighting design to the long and sweeping camera movements.