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Mizoguchi, Kenji

Mizoguchi, Kenji, 1898–1956, Japanese film director. Mizoguchi made more than 80 features, only 30 of which still survive. He is particularly known for films that portray the lives of women, whom he often depicts as suffering and sacrificing in a male-controlled society. These include A Geisha (1953) and A Woman of Rumor (1954) 19 of his extant works have female protagonists. He also made many films set in historical periods, e.g., the Meiji period in The Story of the Last Chrysanthemums (1939). His films are known for their beauty and sense of place, their lengthy and distant shots, and their fluid camera movement. He achieved international fame when three of his films won consecutive awards at the Venice Film Festival: The Life of Oharu (1952), Ugetsu (1953), and Sansho the Bailiff (1954) Ugetsu, an elegant ghost story, especially helped Japanese cinema to the attention of Western audiences. Mizoguchi, Akira Kurosawa , and Yasujiro Ozu are generally considered the finest filmmakers of Japanese cinema's golden age.

See T. Sato, Kenji Mizoguchi and the Art of Japanese Cinema (2008).

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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