Bristling with passion, Mizoguchi's film is a true find: a heartbreaker to end them all. Tokyo, 1885: a Kabuki actor of little self-awareness offends his famous father and transgresses tradition by insisting on his love for his brother's nurse. Trapped by the father's refusal to countenance the affair, dragged together into ignominy, she realises that only through her self-sacrifice can her love reclaim his familial glory. As the plot twists inexorably round their doomed affair, it says much more by showing less: an eloquently long tracking shot can follow remarkably understated scenes of intense emotion so that tears flow as if by magic. Unashamed sentimentality and anger controlled by extreme formal precision justify its reputation as the peak of Mizoguchi's film-making. DMacp.
Cast and crew