My Love Has Been Burning

Missing from our May 1975 Mizoguchi Retrospective, and only recently rediscovered, My Love Has Been Burning is worth noting today for the prophetic and amazingly militant feminism of its subject. The story is set in the 1880s, a crucial period in the modernization of Japan, when both liberalism and feminism were nascent under the Meiji Restoration. With the blunt universality characteristic of this great director, the conflicts of the era are embodied in the struggles of a determined young woman who leaves home to become involved in the political turmoil in Tokyo. The film ends with a hauntingly simple image of two women forming a mystical bond that both includes and transcends politics. Ultimately, My Love Has Been Burning should be seen not as a one-shot foray into a currently fashionable topic, but as one panel out of many in the great saga of womanhood that Mizoguchi fashioned over four decades of filmmaking. Visually, the film demonstrates the dense, dark, and emotionally-charged style characteristic of Mizoguchi's immediate post-war period.

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