Fifth about The Seventh

Sisters of the Gion (Gion no Shimai)

Sisters of the Gion: Mizoguchi Kenji’s melodrama is an uncompromising, hard look at the geisha institution (and the general situation of women in Japan) in pre-war years; it has a very modern stance on the matter, including a particularly complex character, one that is both progressive and (justifiably) ruthless. Yamada Isuzu gives a fine performance as the seductive, calculating anti-hero; Umemura Yoko is almost as good as the other half of the title pair. The work of cinematographer Miki Minoru is very fine: the camera watches the action from afar, but it’s far from static (quite the opposite). Sakane Tatsuko’s editing gives the film a tight pace.

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