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Japan, 1953
Directed by Kenji Mizoguchi
With Machiko Kyō, Masayuki Mori, Kinuyo Tanaka, Sakae Ozawa, Mitsuko Mito
Based on the novel by Ueda Akinari
Approx. 97 min. DCP restoration.

During 16th century civil wars, ambitious village potter Masayuki Mori (RASHOMON, FLOATING CLOUDS) decides to go for the ryu and leave wife Kinuyo Tanaka (star of 15 films for Mizoguchi) behind to sell his wares in town, there to be seduced ("I never knew such pleasures existed”) by ghost princess Machiko Kyo. But when the spell is finally broken, he returns to a devastated village. The illusionary nature of ambition and desire is reinforced by the superb photography of Kazuo Miyagawa (RASHOMON, YOJIMBO, LIFE OF OHARU) — "beautifully atmospheric, all long shots, long takes and graceful camera movements." – Donald Richie — and powerful playing by the star trio (after Mori's final scene of awakening, Mizoguchi, a no-smoking, actor-disdaining dictator on the set, personally lit up a congratulatory cigarette for the star). Adapted from Akinari Ueda’s 1776 collection of tales of the supernatural, and a De Maupassant story. Venice Silver Lion winner (Mizoguchi's second in a row) and for many years a regular on Ten-Best-of-All-Time lists.


“One of Mizoguchi’s most accomplished films… an emotional saga.”
– Donald Richie

“One of the most celebrated ghost stories in movie history […] fluid, apparently seamless technique.”
The New York Times

Time Out

“Mizoguchi is a filmmaker of astonishing contrasts and extremes. He’s one of the most furious and fiercely critical political filmmakers of all time, in any country. […] In effect, Mizoguchi is both Japan’s John Ford, with his emphasis on history and legend, and its Max Ophüls, with the grandly operatic resonances of his highly stylized images.”
– Richard Brody

Film Forum