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Sansho the Baliff
Cast:Kinuyo Tanaka, Yoshiaki Hanayaki, Kyoko Kagawa
Credits:(Japanese with English subtitles, bw, 35mm)

This epic filled with tragic loss and chilling cruelty is perhaps Mizoguchi's most heart-rendering film. In eleventh-century Japan, a family is dispersed: the father is exiled by a cruel governor, the mother is sold as a courtesan, and the children are sent to a remot province as slaves. When the son reaches maturity, he manages to assume his rightful post as a provincial governor and sets about avenging his family's suffering. The sense of secret treachery revealed when the camera suddenly and unexpectedly begins to move is one of the most frightening moments in cinema. Kazu Miyagawa's cinematography, with its awe-inspiring long takes and complex use of background and off-screen space, lends even the most harrowing sequences an extraordinary elegance.

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