Oyuki the Virgin (Maria no Oyuki)
Dir. Kenji Mizoguchi. 1935, 78 mins. 35mm print from National Film Center (Tokyo). With Isuzu Yamada, Komako Hara. As civil war threatens, two geishas flee their village in a coach, in the odd company of aristocrats and sturdy bourgeoisie. Though they are supposedly beneath their companions, the women of ill repute prove to be morally superior to their social betters, as Mizoguchi likens his fallen women to Madonnas and, not for the last time, drapes his film in Christian imagery. Oyuki the Virgin is based on Guy de Maupassant’s short story “Boule de Suif,” later a key influence on John Ford’s Stagecoach (1939).
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