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Osaka Elegy (Woman of Osaka) (Naniwa erejÓ) Reviews

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AJ V

Super Reviewer

November 18, 2011
An interesting movie, the oldest film I've seen from Japan so far, actually. The best and worst thing about it is that the story is realistic. I say that it's also the worst thing because it made the film more boring than it could have been if it wasn't so realistic. It's a good thing too, though, because that's what makes it so sad. Also, I don't know if I'm just not used to the Japanese style or what, but I didn't care for the actors. Overall it's a pretty good movie, but I think it could have been better.
sanjurosamurai
sanjurosamurai

Super Reviewer

July 14, 2009
very similar in theme to some of mizoguchi's other films from this period, osaka elegy executed its themes well in a way that brings forth difficult family drama and tough ethical questions. there is no clear villian because everyone in the film is pretty screwed up save one lesser character, so picking sides as a viewer isnt easy. it was cool to see such an early appearance from takashi shimura in this solid film.
Harlequin68
Harlequin68

Super Reviewer

May 17, 2010
In "Osaka Elegy," Sonosuke Asai(Bankei Shiganoya), the owner of a pharmaceutical company, is so frustrated with his wife(Yoko Umemura) spending so many late nights with her women's association, that he threatens to get a mistress. She challenges him by saying he does not have the balls. To prove that he does in fact have them and that they are in working order, he preys on Ayako(Isuzu Yamada), a vulnerable employee who badly needs extra money because her father(Seiichi Takegawa) has embezzled and lost 300 yen on the stock market.

Directed by Kenji Mizoguchi, "Osaka Elegy" is a familiar, yet powerful, melodrama that just goes to prove that sometimes the old stories never lose their punch. By being about a woman who does the wrong thing for the right reason, this one takes aim at the hypocrisies of society where having a mistress is alright, but only behind closed doors. For example, Ayako is attacked for not only being out in public at the theater with Asai, but also dressed like a married woman.
GS
GS

Super Reviewer

December 6, 2011
My first Mizoguchi film, but already I am convinced that he is indeed as great as everyone says he is. My impressions of his style and technique will definitely grow and change as I watch more of his films, but I'm sure he will always remain a great director in my eyes. He is lesser known out of the Big 3 Japanese directors; I think his style is comparable to that of Ozu rather Kurosawa. Both Ozu and Mizoguchi have a similar knack for being able to tell stories which have melodramatic elements with great patience, serenity, and truth. Like with Ozu's films, there is not much that is overly sentimental or contrived, the film is well-paced and each frame is shot with great confidence in the ability to be slow-moving but still hold the audience's attention. A difference I noted is that Ozu's camera is more closer in and focused narrower on characters while Mizoguchi's camera is a little further back, did not utilize the tatami shot by placing the camera low, and the camera moved around more than Ozu's. It is only the first film I've seen of his, so I'll be learning more as I see more. In this film, Ishizu Yamada is Ayako Murai. She wants to marry Susumu Nishimura, a pathetic and selfish young romantic. He deserts her twice when she needs his support the most. She sleeps with her boss Asai to help her father and her brother financially. She gets mixed up with Mr. Fujino, which lands her in trouble with the law. Her tragedy is summed up by her line: "if I stay where I am, I don't know how much farther I'll fall". The police drop the charges, and she returns home but she is ruined because a newspaper runs a story about her arrest. In the end she is left all alone. Considered to be Mizoguchi's breakthrough film and it is a darn good one.
January 27, 2008
Not a bad film, it just feels like Mizoguchi going through the motions before his style developed into the long take crane shots. This is probably his least sentimental film mostly because the main character is so self conscious of her own demeanor that any superficial melodrama merely are a form pretense. The reason this doesn't work as well as Mizoguchi's better films is that it's not as convincing.
July 31, 2014
This film came as part of a four-pack of films. After seeing his trinity of greatness: The Life Of Oharu, Ugestu, and Sansho The Bailiff, I was curious to see Kenji Mizoguchi's other works. Sadly, despite having made more than eighty films in his career, finding and obtaining his films proves to be rather difficult because most of his work has been lost over the course of decades (Somebody or some people fucked up, and they fucked up bad). Well, at least we have some of his works to watch and appreciate, and Osaka Elegy is a terrific early film in the director's career, though in comparison to his later works, it is a silver medal film.

The story follows a switchboard operator named Ayako, who becomes involved with her boss at a pharmaceutical company. From that point, her life becomes a mess, especially with her father who was fired from his company and now the company is seeking payment for the money he embezzled from them.

After a heated argument with her father, Ayako leaves home and moves into an apartment provided by her boss and he comes to see her regularly, though his wife has no clue about the affair for a brief period of time until two different incidents confirm her suspicions, and the affair is ended.

Ayako continues to use her beauty and charm to seduce other men into giving her money, but she is in love with one man and hopes to run away with him. Things, however don't go according to plan, as her scheming ways begin to catch up with her along with law enforcement.

The story, while simple, works well as a morality tale about a woman deceived by men and then living on the tricks she learned from seducing men to get her money. It's ultimately a tale about how society can turn someone innocent and then into a delinquent through deception and misguided trust.

The acting is also pretty good, mostly from Isuzu Yamada as Ayako who delivers an engaging performance. Her co-stars are also pretty good, but she is the one who steals the show, as her main character should with all her problems.

Osaka Elegy is no masterpiece, but it's still a very good early effort and clear sign of the greatness to come in future years from the talented, under-appreciated director. It's a great drama with just the right sprinkling of morality lessons to keep it afloat and keep it from becoming sappy nonsense. If you enjoyed Mizoguchi's other work, this is worth seeing.
December 29, 2013
The scathing social message behind Mizoguchi's Osaka Elegy, about society's ill treatment of women and double standards was ahead of its time and still relevant to a certain extent today.
August 2, 2013
A young girl becomes a mistress to wealthy men sacrificing her love life and happiness to financially help her family without letting them know. Regarded as the film which introduced realism to Japanese cinema, with Osaka Elegy Mizoguchi also never makes the mistake of falling into any preachy clichťs and makes good use of photography to represent the woman's distress and virtual imprisonment in what is also an example of early feminist cinema.
GS
GS

Super Reviewer

December 6, 2011
My first Mizoguchi film, but already I am convinced that he is indeed as great as everyone says he is. My impressions of his style and technique will definitely grow and change as I watch more of his films, but I'm sure he will always remain a great director in my eyes. He is lesser known out of the Big 3 Japanese directors; I think his style is comparable to that of Ozu rather Kurosawa. Both Ozu and Mizoguchi have a similar knack for being able to tell stories which have melodramatic elements with great patience, serenity, and truth. Like with Ozu's films, there is not much that is overly sentimental or contrived, the film is well-paced and each frame is shot with great confidence in the ability to be slow-moving but still hold the audience's attention. A difference I noted is that Ozu's camera is more closer in and focused narrower on characters while Mizoguchi's camera is a little further back, did not utilize the tatami shot by placing the camera low, and the camera moved around more than Ozu's. It is only the first film I've seen of his, so I'll be learning more as I see more. In this film, Ishizu Yamada is Ayako Murai. She wants to marry Susumu Nishimura, a pathetic and selfish young romantic. He deserts her twice when she needs his support the most. She sleeps with her boss Asai to help her father and her brother financially. She gets mixed up with Mr. Fujino, which lands her in trouble with the law. Her tragedy is summed up by her line: "if I stay where I am, I don't know how much farther I'll fall". The police drop the charges, and she returns home but she is ruined because a newspaper runs a story about her arrest. In the end she is left all alone. Considered to be Mizoguchi's breakthrough film and it is a darn good one.
blahquaker
May 17, 2010
a superb, biting melodrama. a good movie all around. (and short!)
Harlequin68
Harlequin68

Super Reviewer

May 17, 2010
In "Osaka Elegy," Sonosuke Asai(Bankei Shiganoya), the owner of a pharmaceutical company, is so frustrated with his wife(Yoko Umemura) spending so many late nights with her women's association, that he threatens to get a mistress. She challenges him by saying he does not have the balls. To prove that he does in fact have them and that they are in working order, he preys on Ayako(Isuzu Yamada), a vulnerable employee who badly needs extra money because her father(Seiichi Takegawa) has embezzled and lost 300 yen on the stock market.

Directed by Kenji Mizoguchi, "Osaka Elegy" is a familiar, yet powerful, melodrama that just goes to prove that sometimes the old stories never lose their punch. By being about a woman who does the wrong thing for the right reason, this one takes aim at the hypocrisies of society where having a mistress is alright, but only behind closed doors. For example, Ayako is attacked for not only being out in public at the theater with Asai, but also dressed like a married woman.
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