Film Review: Sansho the Bailiff

Kenji Mizoguchi’s (1898-1956) films are in deep sharp contrast with those of the better know and more popular of his contemporaries, Akira Kurosawa. Some critics argue (like Bazin) that some of the films of the latter were heavily influenced by the films of John Ford et. al. and the Western genre, masterfully adapted to Japan’s own historical reality and culture. Mizoguchi is probably just the opposite.

This is clearly evident in Sansho the Bailiff (made in 1954, the same year as Kurosawa’s awesome Seven Samurai) which is undoubtedly a masterpiece for the ages. Mizoguchi is not only more lyrical but also much more social aware in his film-making, depicting in this one the tragic story of a family in feudal Japan whose fortunes go from bad to worse. The other fascinating element is that the

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Sansho the Bailiff

Kenji Mizoguchi’s (1898-1956) films are in deep sharp contrast with those of the better know and more popular of his contemporaries, Akira Kurosawa. Some critics argue (like Bazin) that some of the films of the latter were heavily influenced by the films of John Ford et. al. and the Western genre, masterfully adapted to Japan’s own historical reality and culture. Mizoguchi is probably just the opposite.

This is clearly evident in Sansho the Bailiff (made in 1954, the same year as Kurosawa’s awesome Seven Samurai) which is undoubtedly a masterpiece for the ages. Mizoguchi is not only more lyrical but also much more social aware in his film-making, depicting in this one the tragic story of a family in feudal Japan whose fortunes go from bad to worse. The other fascinating element is that the

Read More