(Gion no shimai)
Directed by Kenji Mizoguchi. Japan. 1939.
In the film, Umekichi is devoted to a bankrupt businessman, Shimbei Furusawa (Benkei Shiganoya) who comes to live with the sisters after an argument with his wife. Omocha is unhappy with this arrangement, telling Umekichi she should have no use for a man who doesn't support them. She convinces an antique dealer Jurakuso (Fumio Okura) to give her money to pay off Furusawa so that Jurakuso can become Umekichi's patron, but she ends pocketing half. On hearing that a textile clerk is in love with her, Omocha persuades Kimura (Taizo Fukami) to steal the company's materials to enable her sister to wear an acceptable kimono for a party of wealthy patrons.
The destiny of the two
sisters reaches its inevitable conclusion when the store clerk is fired
and exacts his revenge on Omocha, and when Furusawa leaves Umekichi to
become a manager of a rayon company. While Mizoguchi's film is a protest
against the specific conditions of women in pre-war Japan, the film strikes
a universal chord in its compelling depiction of the sad consequences of
treating human beings as marketable commodities.
Book Reviews | About Us