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Women of the Night (Yoru no Onnatachi)


Dir. Kenji Mizoguchi. 1948, 75 mins. 35mm print from the National Film Center (Tokyo). With Kinuyo Tanaka, Tomie Tsunoda, Sanae Takasugi. Mizoguchi’s response to the cinematic challenge issued by Italian neorealism, the uniquely rough and immediate Women of the Night was shot on location in a still-scarred postwar Osaka and its seedy nightspots. The troubled fate of Japan is reflected in the stories of two sisters. One loses her husband and child from the war and its aftereffects, the other becomes her boss’s mistress; together they will go down into the depths of Osaka’s red-light district, where naked violence is the only law.

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