The Woman of the Rumor
(Uwasa no Onna)

Screening on Film
Directed by Kenji Mizoguchi.
With Kinuyo Tanaka, Yoshiko Kuga, Tomoemon Otani.
Japan, 1954, 35mm, black & white, 83 min.
Japanese with English subtitles.

Released the same year as both Sansho and Crucified Lovers, the lesser known Woman of the Rumor uses melodrama with equal power and invention, once again starring Kinuyo Tanaka who is simply dazzling as a Kyoto madame trying to bring up her daughter who falls for a young doctor who is also her mother’s lover. Mizoguchi brilliantly intertwines the perspectives of mother and daughter to make vividly real the quotidian rhythms of the modern-day geisha house. Mizoguchi’s passionate and famously obsessive attention to architecture and set design is expressed in the intricate and expressive okiya, or boarding house for geisha, where much of the film takes place.

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