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Kenji Mizoguchi: A Cinema of Totality

Friday, August 22, 2014
8:45 p.m. Princess Yang Kwei-Fei
Kenji Mizoguchi (Japan, 1955)

Imported Print!

Yang Kwei-fei is a highlight among (Mizoguchi's) rarely seen movies."— Mike Hale, NY Times

(Yokihi). Part fairy tale, part ghost story, Princess Yang Kwei-fei relates the legend of an eighth-century Chinese emperor who falls in love with a servant girl (Machiko Kyo) and makes her his consort. This tragic Cinderella story of passion doomed by politics is one of Mizoguchi’s two films in color. Andrew Sarris called it “one of the most beautiful films ever to treat beauty as a subject.” Dave Kehr wrote: “Again, Mizoguchi focuses his attention on the strength of women in the face of male frailty. In a final breathtaking camera movement, he elevates that strength to an eternal principle.”

• Written by Matsutaro Kawaguchi, Masashige Narusawa, Yoshikata Yoda. Photographed by Kohei Sugiyama. With Machiko Kyo, Masayuki Mori, So Yamamura. (98 mins, In Japanese with English subtitles, Color, 35mm, From The Japan Foundation, permission Janus Films/Criterion Collection)