Ugetsu. Image courtesy of Janus Films.

SERIES
Mizoguchi

May 2–June 8

Organized by Chief Curator David Schwartz and Assistant Film Curator Aliza Ma

Although Kenji Mizoguchi is widely regarded as one of the greatest directors in the history of cinema, screenings of his movies are rare. He made more than 80 films; yet less than half of these survive, and fewer than ten are readily available in the United States. In the early 1990s, critic David Thomson worried about the fate of Mizoguchi’s work, writing “this is a greatness that could one day soon be lost. By 2010, will it be possible to see these films on the screen they deserve?” So now, in 2014, Moving Image is pleased to present the most extensive Mizoguchi retrospective and the first New York retrospective in nearly 20 years. Here is a once-in-a-generation chance to experience such acknowledged masterpieces as Ugetsu, Sansho the Bailiff, The Life of Oharu, Sisters of the Gion, Street of Shame, and Utamaro and His Five Women, along with such rare films that will be revelations to new viewers, including Miss Oyu, A Woman of Rumor, Portrait of Madame Yuki, and My Love Has Been Burning.

The core of Mizoguchi’s greatness is his use of the medium to convey a profound world view, one that moves between social commentary, a deep feeling for tragedy and romance, and a transcendent sense of man’s—and woman’s—place in the cosmos. The plight of women in a restrictive society is a recurring theme in his films, and many of his films are melodramas about the clash between women’s desires and the restrictions of social tradition. Mizoguchi, whose masterful use of tracking shots and compositions that move between close-ups and tableaus, always viewed his deeply human dramas with a cosmic perspective. No director made movies that were so intensely emotional without being overly sentimental, and movies that were so rigorous in their portrayal of the social order, yet so profoundly in touch with the human experience.

Mizoguchi is co-presented with the Japan Foundation, with special thanks to the Harvard Film Archive, Janus Films, Kadokawa, the National Film Center (Tokyo), Nikkatsu, and Shochiku.


Screening
Ugetsu (Ugetsu Monogotari)
Friday, May 2, 7:00 p.m.
Screening & Live Event
Sansho the Bailiff (Sansho Dayu)
Saturday, May 3, 2:00 p.m.
Screening
Street of Shame (Akasen Chitai)
Saturday, May 3, 7:00 p.m.
Screening & Live Event
Song of Home (Furusato no Uta)
Sunday, May 4, 2:00 p.m.
Screening
Oyuki the Virgin (Maria no Oyuki)
Sunday, May 4, 3:30 p.m.
Screening
Sisters of the Gion (Gion no Shimai)
Sunday, May 4, 6:30 p.m.
Screening
Utamaro and His Five Women (Utamaro o Meguru Gonin…
Friday, May 9, 7:00 p.m.
Screening
Hometown (Fujiwara Yoshie no Furusato)
Saturday, May 10, 1:00 p.m.
Screening
White Threads of the Waterfall (Taki no Shiraito)
Saturday, May 10, 3:00 p.m.
Screening
Musashi Miyamoto
Saturday, May 10, 5:00 p.m.
Screening
The Story of the Last Chrysanthemums (Zangiku Mono…
Saturday, May 10, 6:30 p.m.
Screening
Hometown (Fujiwara Yoshie no Furusato)
Sunday, May 11, 2:00 p.m.
Screening
White Threads of the Waterfall (Taki no Shiraito)
Sunday, May 11, 4:00 p.m.
Screening
Musashi Miyamoto
Sunday, May 11, 6:30 p.m.
Screening
The Life of Oharu (Saikaku Ichidai Onna)
Friday, May 16, 7:00 p.m.
Screening
The Downfall of Osen (Orizuru Osen)
Saturday, May 17, 4:00 p.m.
Screening
Straits of Love and Hate (Aienkyo)
Saturday, May 17, 6:30 p.m.
Screening
Poppy (Gubijinso)
Sunday, May 18, 5:00 p.m.
Screening
The Story of the Last Chrysanthemums (Zangiku Mono…
Sunday, May 18, 7:00 p.m.
Screening
A Geisha (Gion Bayashi)
Friday, May 23, 7:00 p.m.
Screening
The Famous Sword Bijomaru (Meito Bijomaru)
Saturday, May 24, 2:00 p.m.
Screening
Portrait of Madame Yuki (Yuki Fujin Ezu)
Saturday, May 24, 4:00 p.m.
Screening
Osaka Elegy (Naniwa Ereji)
Saturday, May 24, 7:00 p.m.
Screening
The 47 Ronin (Pt. 1 & 2) (Genroku Chushingura)
Sunday, May 25, 2:00 p.m.
Screening
The Downfall of Osen (Orizuru Osen)
Saturday, May 31, 1:00 p.m.
Screening
Osaka Elegy (Naniwa Ereji)
Saturday, May 31, 3:00 p.m.
Screening
The Love of Sumako the Actress (Joyu Sumako no Koi…
Saturday, May 31, 5:00 p.m.
Screening
Miss Oyu (Oyu-sama)
Saturday, May 31, 7:00 p.m.
Screening
The Crucified Lovers (Chikamatsu Monogatari)
Sunday, June 1, 2:00 p.m.
Screening
Victory of Women (Josei no Shori)
Sunday, June 1, 4:30 p.m.
Screening
My Love Has Been Burning (Waga Koi wa Moenu)
Sunday, June 1, 7:00 p.m.
Screening
Princess Yang Kwei-fei (Yokihi)
Friday, June 6, 7:00 p.m.
Screening
The Lady of Musashino (Musashino Fujin)
Saturday, June 7, 5:00 p.m.
Screening
A Woman of Rumor (Uwasa no Onna)
Saturday, June 7, 7:00 p.m.
Screening
Tales of the Taira Clan (Shin Heike Monogatari)
Sunday, June 8, 2:00 p.m.
SCREENING
Women of the Night (Yoru no Onnatachi)
Sunday, June 8, 4:30 p.m.