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Poppy (Gubijinso)


Dir. Kenji Mizoguchi. 1935, 72 mins. 35mm print from the National Film Center (Tokyo). With Ichiro Tsukida, Kuniko Miyake, Daijiro Natsukawa. Based on a 1908 novel by Soseke Natsume, Poppy concerns a society woman in contemporary Kyoto who is betrothed to a diplomat, but who falls in love with the student who is teaching her English. Further complicating matters is the fact that the teacher is himself engaged to a woman to whose father he owes a tremendous debt of gratitude. The vicissitudes of this four-way entanglement are tracked through following the movements of a single watch intended as a wedding gift, a unique structural flourish which distinguishes this rarely seen, stealthily powerful big-budget melodrama.

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