Sanshô dayû | 山椒大夫 | Sansho the Bailiff [1954]

6/10 | 28.Mar.12
Sanshô dayû | 山椒大夫 | Sansho the Bailiff

(Kenji Mizoguchi: 1954)

Movie wrap up for yesterday. The headliner was a disappointment. I know that SANSHO THE BAILIFF (“Sanshô dayû”, 1954) is one of the treasures of world cinema, that one has to have a heart of stone not to be shattered, devastated by the experience of watching it, that…well, I thought it was sentimental and overly broad, and its Grand Themes were painted in huge letters across the screen, which is ironic given how much Mizoguchi’s restraint and subtlety are hyped. 6/10. [3/28/12]

{{Check AFF: I know I ranted about Ebert WRT this flick}}
Why is it that people, including professional critics, usually get plot points in movies wrong? Here’s Roger Ebert on SANSHO THE BAILIFF: “As the plot unfurls, we see Zushio and Anju trying to escape, lured by an evocative song that is sung to them by a recent prisoner from their village….” Um, no Rog. The recent prisoner is from the island of Sado where Tamiko was sold into prostitution, not from their village, and the song the prisoner sings is Tamiko’s own song about her longing for her children, who she calls by name in it, which tells her daughter Anju that Tamiko is possibly still alive and still thinking about her 10 years after their separation. This is not an unimportant piece of information and the song is not merely “evocative” but is instead a leitmotif heard repeatedly in the soundtrack. Sheesh.

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