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The Downfall of Osen
(Orizuru Osen)

Screening on Film
Directed by Kenji Mizoguchi.
With Isuzu Yamada, Daijiro Natsukawa.
Japan, 1935, 35mm, black & white, silent, 87 min.
Benshi soundtrack with English subtitles.

The year before his artistic and critical breakthrough with Sisters of the Gion and Osaka Elegy, Mizoguchi embraced radically different stylistic means to explore the world of the fallen woman that would emerge as the central realm his cinema. The Downfall of Osen uses a sophisticated flashback structure to tell its story of a young woman pulled out of the criminal underworld by a love that, ironically, destroys her. The great Isuzu Yamada gives a soulful world-weariness to Osen as she recounts her sad fate and offers her memories with a wistful melancholic fondness for those few moments of fleeting happiness she savored long ago.

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The Tales and Tragedies of Kenji Mizoguchi

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