Sansho the Bailiff (Sansho Dayu)
“‘Sansho the Bailiff centers on (an) aristocratic woman and her two children, all of whom have been separated by feudal tyranny from her husband, a fallen official. The two children, Zushio and Anju, are kidnapped and sold into slavery; the son escapes, although only the daughter's suicide allows him this chance for freedom. Coincidence, wholly plausible in an epoch characterized by such extremities of violence, allows Zushio to become Governor of the very province where Sansho's slave camp flourishes.” --Toronto Film Society.
“This is a classically Japanese, inexpressibly sad story about social injustice, personal tragedy, sacrifice and familial love, which, although made in 1954, really is a product of the generation that preceded World War II, filmed in a surreal, familiar expressionistic manner. For the single scene in the beginning of the film when the mother, Tamaki (Kinuyo Tanaka), calls out for her children gathering firewood in the hastening twilight of their last night together, this film should be seen and heard.” --Kathleen Sherrill