The stage director Shimamura, who is bringing western theatre to Japan, falls in love with the outspoken actress Sumako Matsui, and leaves his family to be with her, while trying to keep ...
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The stage director Shimamura, who is bringing western theatre to Japan, falls in love with the outspoken actress Sumako Matsui, and leaves his family to be with her, while trying to keep his Art Theatre solvent.Written by
There is another version of this film, from the same year: it's "Joyû" ("The Actress"), directed by Teinosuke Kinugasa. Both tells the story of the famous actress Sumako Mitsui (1886-1919), considered the first great modern theater actress in Japan. Mizoguchi himself is said to have preferred Kinugasa's version. See more »
Kinuyo Tanaka plays Sumako Matsui, considered the first great actress of the modern Japanese stage. Sô Yamamura plays Hôgetsu Shimamura, anxious to perform Ibsen's A DOLL'S HOUSE, who discovers her and drills her her in the part, and left his wife and family to be with her.
Despite the name, it's the history of the drama movement in Japan through her death, and it is, as usual with a film by Kenji Mizoguchi, impeccable, even as it falls into all the standard tropes of this sort of movie. Its best scenes are those of Yamamura directing Miss Tanaka in a few lines from Ibsen, getting exactly the performance he wants from her, and in the wings while playing CARMEN, when she mocks the actor who is supposed to kill her onstage about his weak performance. There's little to argue here when I state she gives a great and varying performance, switching modes like lightning, but it is those very strengths that call attention to the artificiality of the movie.
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