Mizoguchi Kenji - Sansho the Bailiff (1954)

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A documentary film on the life and works of director Kenji Mizoguchi.

Written by KnightHunters18.8K
Mizoguchi Kenji - Sansho the Bailiff (1954) (Size: 700.56 MB)
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As many historians have noted, the humanist ideals professed in Kenji Mizoguchi's masterpiece Sansho The Bailiff are more than a little anachronistic, retro-fitting 20th-century notions onto the film's medieval setting. Sentiments like "All men are created equal" or "Everyone is entitled to happiness" don't really wash in a period so firmly entrenched in militarism and sharp class distinctions. But in 1954, with Japan and the rest of the planet still reeling from the cruel nationalism that sparked World War II, the film's thematic resonance was unmistakable, a powerful rebuke to the tyrannies of the recent past. Told with the stark simplicity of a fairy tale, Sansho The Bailiff demonstrates how compassion can overcome the forces of hatred and oppression, and shows how trying it is to remain decent and humane in an inhospitable world. Tragedy and transcendence are equally present, and their coexistence produces one of the most profoundly moving final scenes in film history.

After his alignment with local peasants puts him in direct confrontation with a feudal lord, an idealistic governor is exiled, leaving his wife (Kinuyo Tanaka) and two young children to find their way among bandits and slave traders. A seemingly altruistic local offers them food and shelter, then hands them over to mercenaries, who force the mother into prostitution and send the children?played as adults by Yoshiaki Hanayagi and Ky⌠ko Kagawa?to labor as slaves under the brutal Sansho (Eitar⌠ Shind⌠). While Tanaka weathers the hardships with a shred of hope, her brother proves less resilient, transformed to such a degree by Sansho's switch that he forgets his father's teachings.

Apart from the one-two punch of Ugetsu and Sansho The Bailiff, Mizoguchi was best known for his strong sympathy for his usually put-upon female characters, and that same affinity for the downtrodden gives the film its soul. Its humanism doesn't suit the period, but that just makes it more powerful, since the characters are trying to uphold principles in a place where they're truly radical. And when those ideals finally prevail?in a scene Schindler's List would quote 40 years later?the beneficiaries weep in equal parts gratitude and surprise.

Scott Tobias, The Onion AV Club

My rip, from Criterion DVD

--- File Information ---
File Size (in bytes): 734,062,592

--- Container Information ---
Base Type (e.g "AVI"): AVI(.AVI)
Subtype (e.g "OpenDML"): OpenDML (AVI v2.0),
Interleave (in ms): 42
Preload (in ms): 504
Audio alignment("split across interleaves"): Aligned
Total System Bitrate (kbps): 0
Bytes Missing (if any): 0
Number of Audio Streams: 1

--- Video Information ---
Video Codec Type(e.g. "DIV3"): xvid
Duration (hh:mm:ss): 02:04:25
Frame Count: 178982
Frame Width (pixels): 496
Frame Height (pixels): 368
Frame Aspect Ratio (e.g "1.3333"):
Frame Aspect Ratio (e.g. "4:3"):
Pixel Aspect Ratio ("SAR"):
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Frames Per Second: 30
Video Bitrate (kbps): 522
MPEG-4 ("MPEG-4" or ""): MPEG-4
B-VOP ("B-VOP" or ""): B-VOP

--- Audio Information ---
Audio Codec (e.g. "AC3"): 0x0055(MP3, ISO) MPEG-1 Layer 3 Audio Sample Rate (Hz): 48000
Audio Bitrate(kbps): 86
Audio Bitrate Type ("CBR" or "VBR"): VBR
Audio Channel Count (e.g. "2" for stereo): 2

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