Sansho the Bailiff (1954)

Not Rated   |    |  Drama

Sansho the Bailiff (1954) Poster

In medieval Japan, a compassionate governor is sent into exile. His wife and children try to join him, but are separated, and the children grow up amid suffering and oppression.


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30 July 2013 | Sergeant_Tibbs
| "Sansho the Bailiff's cinematic story structure feels ahead of its time.
Sansho the Bailiff is a film that feels like it's all themes, archetypes and story structure and the content and characters are near interchangeable. However, this is a blessing and a curse. Despite being based on a traditional story, the cinematic structure feels way ahead of its time and the kind of layered stuff we see in the best contemporary cinema. It all clicks into place but I can't help but wish the characters were more well developed. It's only after the half way mark where we finally land on a protagonist to take us to the end. Nevertheless, the sorrowful emotion and the themes of oppression still poke through sharply and it's message of being an honourable man retains its power. Perhaps it's one of the ultimate films that show the protagonist winning, but at what cost. Mizoguchi is definitely a great filmmaker, his style is very controlled and cinematic, but with this and Ugetsu, I can't help but feel his films don't hit me as hard as they could do.


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