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The Crucified Lovers
(Chikamatsu Monogatari)

Screening on Film
Directed by Kenji Mizoguchi.
With Kazuo Hasegawa, Kyoko Kagawa.
Japan, 1954, 16mm, black & white, 102 min.
Japanese with English subtitles.

Treated like chattel by her wealthy, loutish merchant husband, a young woman from an impoverished family falls in love with one of his apprentices, and their desperate affair provides a fascinating contrast with the similarly ill-fated lovers in Mizoguchi’s subsequent work, Princess Yang Kwei Fei. Where that film presents a seemingly Buddhist detachment towards the impermanence of human happiness, The Crucified Lovers maintains an intensity that has been compared to film noir. The film remains one of Mizoguchi’s lesser-known masterpieces in this country, but following its presentation at Cannes, The Crucified Lovers was immediately championed by such French observers as Jean-Luc Godard and Georges Sadoul.

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The Tales and Tragedies of Kenji Mizoguchi

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