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The Crucified Lovers (Chikamatsu Monogatari)


Dir. Kenji Mizoguchi. 1954, 102 mins. 16mm print from the Japan Foundation. With Kazuo Hasegawa, Kyoko Kagawa. Apprentice scrollmaker Mohei attempts to help his master’s wife out of a delicate financial situation, and as a result the two end up on the lam together. Thrown together by persecuting forces, they become lovers during a delicate idyll that shows Mizoguchi at the height of his pictorial powers. But such exquisite feelings are doomed to be punished by society. Based on a 300-year-old play by the famed dramatist Chikamatsu, this watershed work of postwar jidaigeki is one of Mizoguchi’s most beloved films in Japan, with Akira Kurosawa foremost among its admirers.

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