Osaka Elegy

A feminist in any period, Mizoguchi saw in mid-thirties Osaka, the center of Japanese capitalism, ever more opportunity for the exploitation of women. The city he shows sparkles with the allure of the new economy, of the modern-of adaptability. No one is more adaptable than Ayako (Isuzu Yamada), a young switchboard operator who allows herself to become mistress to her boss for the sake of her family's future and her own. Moving from her post at the switchboard, still in kimono, to art deco (for decadent) surrounds with clothes and coiffure to match, Ayako is the more chic as she is more humiliated, debased as she is liberated into the fog of an uncertain future. The film is a showcase for Mizoguchi's telling use of deep focus and fabulous tracking shots-including one through a (new) department store-that together make his expression of surface so modern.

This page may by only partially complete. For additional information about this film, view the original entry on our archived site.