Miss Oyu

Screening on Film
Directed by Kenji Mizoguchi.
With Kinuyo Tanaka, Nobuko Otowa, Yuji Hori.
Japan, 1951, 35mm, black & white, 95 min.
Japanese with English subtitles.

Mizoguchi’s adaptation uses Junichiro Tanizaki’s tormented novel about repression and forbidden love as yet another means to explore the hypocrisy and incestuous isolation of the postwar Japanese upper-class family, here refracted through the steamy glass of two sisters’ love for the same man. The tortured soul of the older, widowed sister is poignantly captured by Kinuyo Tanaka in this rarely screened late film. Miss Oyu is formally quite extraordinary, with Mizoguchi carefully choreographing the lines of the frustrated long triangle as its stretches and recedes, often in march with the characters’ gaze at one another, across the film’s ritualized and succinctly described interior spaces.

Part of film series

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The Tales and Tragedies of Kenji Mizoguchi