The Empress Yang Kwei Fei
Time Out saysMizoguchi's first film in colour is set in 8th century China during the latter years of the T'ang dynasty, and contrasts the 'pure' love story of Emperor Huan Tsung and his mistress Yang Kwei Fei with the corruption and opportunism rife in the imperial court. Those who find Mizoguchi's later films guilty of arid formulism will find fuel for their arguments here. The director's lifelong preoccupation with the position of women in feudal society is undoubtedly diminished by the idealised treatment of his heroine, while the depiction of members of her family seeking preferment and promotion within the court often borders on caricature. On the other hand, there are sequences of stunning beauty, notably Yang Kwei Fei's execution scene (accompanied by some terrific music).