Fifth about The Seventh

The Life of Oharu (Saikaku Ichidai Onna)

The Life of Oharu: this Mizoguchi Kenji melodrama is a sad, damning, cruel look at the position of woman in Japan, that additionally carries a heavy hierarchy, both of which crush the protagonist and her life. It’s a journey that is unavoidable per the rules of the world portrayed, one that is clearly being criticized by the director. Acting is good: Tanaka Kinuyo is a bit miscast, as she never looks the appropriate age for the character, but is otherwise very convincing in every step of the way, one which is emotionally complex; Mifune Toshiroo has a short but intense and crucial participation. Visually, this is as usual a very rich experience: avoiding the traditional coverage in lieu of a dynamic camera, which is another element in the complex dance of characters within the environment. The locations and production design are also top-notch.

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