AFS Japanese Masters: Life of Oharu
Looking back on her life, a 50-year-old woman reveals how she was driven from her lady-in-waiting position at the 17th century royal court at Edo. Caught in an embrace with a young man beneath her class, she — along with her family — is sent into exile. Angry and ashamed, Oharu’s father sells her as a concubine to a lord, who sends her away once she has borne a male heir for him. Over the next 30 years she becomes no more than a sexual object for men in a succession of relationships, which draw her farther down the social scale until she can survive only as a street walker. With this film, Mizoguchi and actress Kinuyo Tanaka created one of the most haunting portraits of a woman and her cruel mistreatment by men.