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The Story of the Last Chrysanthemums
(Zangiku Monogatari)

Screening on Film
Directed by Kenji Mizoguchi.
With Shotaro Hanayagi, Kokichi Takada, Gonjuro Kawarazaki.
Japan, 1939, 35mm, black & white, 143 min.
Japanese with English subtitles.

Mizoguchi’s fabled about the doomed love between a Kabuki actor and a young servant girl willing to sacrifice everything for the young man’s career is often cited as a milestone in his career, the work in which his mature style finds its first full flowering. One of the great films about the stage, The Story of the Last Chrysanthemums painstakingly renders the grinding schedule and hardships endured by the actor while lyrically paralleling them with the roles the ennobled maid is forced to play. A luminous theatricality is cast on both on- and off-stage scenes by the film’s beautifully rendered Von Sternberg-style chiaroscuro lighting and painterly shadows.

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The Tales and Tragedies of Kenji Mizoguchi

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