A fifty-year-old prostitute, no longer able to attract men, looks back on her sad life. Once a lady-in-waiting at the imperial court at Kyoto, Oharu fell in love with, and became the lover of, a man below her station. They were discovered, and Oharu and her family were exiled. For Oharu there followed a life filled with one sorrow and humiliation after another.Written by
George S. Davis <firstname.lastname@example.org>
I finally saw Life of Oharu at the Ontario Cinematheque in Toronto last night and what an amazing film it was.
I don't know why I held out on Mizoguchi for so long. I think it's because I watched a lot of Ozu in the day and expected more of the same heavily restrained, obliquely symbolic style which is often as alienating as it is inventive. I couldn't have been further off the mark. Mizoguchi's style is fluid and assured like Hitchcock and Bresson. He also injects a warmth of spirit and shows a genuine interest in storytelling which is often absent in much of Ozu's ouevre.
The Story of Oharu is a treatise on how women are economically exploited in a patriarchal society. This is probably one of the greatest 'women's films' ever made. It ranks above 'Breaking The Waves' and Sirk's 'Imitation of Life'. No small feat!! If you like stories that actually say something about the world in which we live, I would strongly recommend this film. It's a masterpiece of world cinema. I am definitely going to see more Mizoguchi.
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