The life of Oharu

The life of Oharu

DVD - 2013 | Japanese
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A peerless chronicler of the soul who specialized in supremely emotional, visually exquisite films about the circumstances of women in Japanese society throughout its history, Kenji Mizoguchi (Ugetsu) had already been directing movies for decades when he made The Life of Oharu; in 1952. But this epic portrait of an inexorable fall from grace, starring the incredibly talented Kinuyo Tanaka as an imperial lady-in-waiting who gradually descends to street prostitution
Publisher: [United States] : The Criterion Collection, 2013
Branch Call Number: DVD Life
Characteristics: 1 videodisc (137 min.) : sd., b&w ; 4 3/4 in


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May 15, 2015

Kenji Mizoguchi came to prominence at Cannes with this film and Ugetsu. Afterwards he made several more masterpieces and he is considered among the best Japanese directors of all time. The Life of Oharu tells the story of the daughter of a 17th samurai who falls in love with a commoner. Mixing of the upperclass with a commoner was criminal at the time, so the commoner was beheaded and she was banished for life. Oharu faces one disappointment after another as women in this period are generally humiliated by men, which is especially devastating for a outcast woman. Warning! This film is about as downbeat as you can get.

Feb 04, 2015

So quiet, so soft, so simple... a wondrous film.

Aug 15, 2014

This is a 1952 Japanese drama directed Kenji Mizoguchi---one of the most talented Japanese directors, based on a novel ("The Life of an Amorous Woman":好色一代女) by Ihara Saikaku (井原 西鶴, 1642 – 1693).
A 50-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 social status.
This lowly man is played by the world-famous actor---Toshiro Mifune.
They were discovered, however, and her family were exiled.
For Oharu there followed a life filled with one sorrow and humiliation after another.
It is quite sad to see that happiness is almost impossible for women in feudal Japan.
Most of the men see women's bodies as sex objects and baby-making machines, with no regard for women's minds or feelings.
Playing the heroine, Kinuyo Tanaka is supposed to age from 18 to 50.
Although makeup in the 1950s was not so advanced an art as it is now, she really seems to age.
The aging process is achieved through Tanaka's acting.

Sep 24, 2013

A deeply moving epic on the life journey of a Japanese woman, Oharu, in the 17th century era, adapted from "The Life of an Amorous Woman". Besides the misfortunes, largely from social oppression of women, there were a few episodes of supreme happiness in Oharu's long life. Last, there were humor as well (see quotes and see if you can hold the chuckles) and see wikipedia for more:---

kurasawa1 Sep 09, 2013

great movie - profound, see it


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Sep 24, 2013

“-Slender fingers … Off they go to look for the girl thus prescribed … Finally there was one who fit the bill in appearance but what was hidden under her garments? -Do you have any moles on your body? -Moles? -Do you? -No. -None at all? -I don’t think so. -Kahei, the search is over! I’ll buy her … yes indeed.”

Sep 24, 2013

-That is a tall order
-There’s more.

-Feet smaller than eight inches with nice arches. She must have a long, willowy torso, a firm waist, but not too muscular, a plump bottom, a pleasant demeanor, a fine figure in whatever she wears, noble in birth, meek in personality, and without a single mole on her body …

Sep 24, 2013

-You rushed here from Edo to find a concubine?
-This is no laughing matter! Lady Matsudaira’s illness has left her barren. The clan will be ruined if the Lord has no heir. There can be no greater calamity … Since Kyoto is famous for its women, there must be one here that he would like. They ordered me to rush here and find her … First of all, she shall be between 15 and 18. Her face shall be fashionably round. Her eyes must be round too. Thick eyebrows with enough space between the eyes. A small mouth with a full set of even white teeth. Long ears with narrow rims and detached translucent lobes. A natural, unaltered hairline. A long neck without wisps of hair. Long, slender fingers with diaphanous nails.


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