Archive of films Sansho, the Bailiff / Sanshô dayû

Japan
1954, 125 min

Section: Tribute to Kenji Mizoguchi
Year: 2017

The wife, son and daughter of an exiled provincial governor are seized by slave traders. The mother Tamaki is sent to Sado Island, while the children are indentured in a work camp run by the cruel bailiff Sansho. The son Zushio submits to the harsh regime, but his sister Anju refuses; when they reach adolescence, she succeeds in persuading him to escape. But righting past wrongs proves severely challenging.


Synopsis

A curiosity about slavery in the pre-feudal Japan of the 11th century led Mizoguchi to adapt this story by the great Meiji writer Mori Ogai – although the film’s second half is almost entirely Yoda’s invention. The wife, son and daughter of an exiled provincial governor are seized by slave traders while journeying to join him. The mother Tamaki is sent to Sado Island, while the children are indentured in a work camp run by the cruel bailiff Sansho. The son Zushio submits to the harsh regime, but his sister Anju refuses to; when they reach adolescence, she succeeds in persuading him to escape. But righting past wrongs proves severely challenging. Maybe it’s because this picture of ancient Japan is so credible that it delivers so many modern resonances. The long-take ending delivers one of Mizoguchi’s most overwhelming visions of the human place in the world.

Tony Rayns

Contacts

The Japan Foundation
4-16-3 Yotsuya, Shinjuku-ku, 160-0004, Tokyo
Japan
Tel: +81 355 623 535
Fax: +81 355 623 500
E-mail: film_tv_and_publication_division@jpf.go.jp, film@jpf.go.jp
www: www.jpf.go.jp

Kadokawa Corporation
1-8-19 Fujimi, Chiyoda-ku, 102-8078, Tokyo
Japan
Tel: +81 368 931 625
E-mail: okada-w@kadokawa.jp

About the film

Black & white, 35 mm

Section: Tribute to Kenji Mizoguchi
   
Director: Kenji Mizoguchi
Screenplay: Yoshikata Yoda, Fuji Tahiro podle krátké povídky / based on the short story Sansho Dayu by Ogai Mori
Dir. of Photography: Kazuo Miyagawa
Music: Fumio Hayasaka, Kanahichi Odera, Tamekichi Mochizuki
Editor: Mitsuzo Miyata
Art Director: Kisaku Ito, Shozaburo Nakajima
Producer: Masaichi Nagata
Production: Daiei, Kyoto
Cast: Kinuyo Tanaka, Yoshiaki Hanayagi, Kyoko Kagawa, Eitaro Shindo, Akitake Kono
Sales: Kadokawa Corporation
Contact: The Japan Foundation
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