“Without compassion, a man is no longer human.”
When a kind governor in medieval Japan is sent into exile because of his compassion for the local peasants, his wife (Kinuyo Tanaka), son (Masahiko Kato), and daughter (Keiko Enami) set out to find him, but are kidnapped and sold into slavery and prostitution. Years later, his adult son (Yoshiaki Hanayagi) is determined to reunite his family.
- Japanese Films
- Kenzi Mizoguchi Films
Response to Peary’s Review:
This “exquisitely photographed”, “sweeping epic” by Kenji Mizoguchi is a true masterpiece of mid-century Japanese cinema. As Peary notes, the film “brilliantly evokes brutal inhumanity” during the 11th century, “yet also is a beautiful character piece centering on mother and children.” Unfortunately, as with Rene Clement’s Forbidden Games (1952), Sansho may ultimately be too devastating to withstand repeated viewings.
- Sweeping black-and-white cinematography
- The final, haunting reunion scene between mother and son
Yes. This film is a classic of world cinema.
(Listed in 1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die)