Great Film Directors: Kenji Mizoguchi. He was a highly influential Japanese director admired by Welles, Kurosawa, Godard and more. I remembering seeing his two part film “47 Ronin” (1941) in the old Fox Venice Theater in West Los Angeles. This great Japanese story is an iconic resonant cultural touchstone in Japan and has been remade more than a few times.
Mizoguchi’s work is renowned for its long takes and mise-en-scène. According to writer Mark Le Fanu, “His films have an extraordinary force and purity. They shake and move the viewer by the power, refinement and compassion with which they confront human suffering.”
His film Ugetsu (1953) brought him international attention and appeared in the Sight & Sound Critics’ Top Ten Poll in 1962 and 1972. Other acclaimed films of his include The Story of the Last Chrysanthemums (1939), The Life of Oharu (1952), Sansho the Bailiff (1954), and The Crucified Lovers (1954). Today, Mizoguchi is one of the most acclaimed filmmakers in cinema history.