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Poppy
(Gubijinso)

Screening on Film
Directed by Kenji Mizoguchi.
With Ichiro Tsukida, Kuniko Miyake, Daijiro Natsukawa.
Japan, 1935, 16mm, black & white, 72 min.
Japanese with English subtitles.

Mizoguchi was given his one of his biggest budgets to date for his adaptation of an early novel by Natsume Soseki, the story of a aristocratic woman whose careful plans for life and love are suddenly derailed by her unexpected love for her young English tutor. Using the woman’s troubled affair as a means to detail and critique the isolated social rituals and milieu of the privileged, Poppy builds suspense around the lover’s duplicitous role-playing. While Mizoguchi’s lavish spending on Poppy’s set design and costumes brought a sharp realism to its evocation of the Meiji-era upper class, it did nothing to help the film find the audience so desperate sought by the failing, and soon after failed, Daiichi studio.

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The Tales and Tragedies of Kenji Mizoguchi

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