Blu-ray Sansh the Bailiff [Blu-ray] [Criterion Collection] (Blu-ray 16242789),
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Sansh the Bailiff [Blu-ray] [Criterion Collection]

  • NR
  • Blu-ray
  • 1 disc
  • Region 1 USA/CA (info)
  • This stunning Kenji Mizoguchi masterpiece reaches back to a Japanese folk tale of the 12th century to depict the barbarism of "a dark age, when people didn't know how to be human." The film stars Yoshiaki Hanayagi as Zushi, the young son of a provincial governor Masauji Taira (Masao Shimizu). A man of outstanding compassion and probity, he impresses on his son the notion that "without mercy, a man is not a man." When the governor's attempts to protect the rights of regional farmers clash with the goals of the feudal regime, he's sent into exile, and forced to leave his family behind. A few years later Zushi, his mother, Tamaki (Kinuyo Tanaki), and sister, Anju (Kyko Kagawa), begin a long journey to reunite with Masauji, only to be waylaid be kidnappers en route. The bandits sell Tamaki to a brothel on an isolated island and the children to corrupt official Sansh (Eitar Shind) as slaves. As the years pass, Anju lapses into passivity while Zushi becomes hardened by the brutality that has become their lot. One day, while escorting a dying slave outside the confines of their camp, they plan an escape. In what may be his finest film, the director again uses the great cinematographer Kazuo Miyagawa (UGETSU), shooting scenes of the most intense emotion from a distance in long, magnificently composed sequence takes, suggesting the transience of all worldly suffering, and fulfilling the Nabokovian dictum of art as "beauty plus compassion."
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  • Credits
    Kinuyo Tanaka, Eitar Shind, Yoshiaki Hanayagi, Kyko Kagawa
  • Critic Reviews
    "[I]t's beautifully told: shocking in places, but also exquisitely photographed and full of feeling."
    Sight and Sound

    5 stars out of 5 -- "Mizoguchi melds cool visual grace with intensity and emotion..."
    Total Film

0 Stars 0 average rating
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