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The Princess Yang Kwei Fei (Y˘kihi) Reviews

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January 23, 2013
Mizoguchi always had a special interest in the plight of women, recognizing that societies have often given them a raw deal. Set in China in the 8th century, the story of Yang Kwei Fei is another tragedy, detailing how one servant girl had no control over her own life and fate. The Emperor, though sympathetically portrayed in the script and by Masayuki Mori, benefits from having Kwei Fei attend to his whims (even as he claims to be shackled himself by bureaucracy, a possible sardonic counterpoint to Kwei Fei's own social shackles). Yang Kwei Fei, acted by Machiko Kyo, is seen as a means of securing political power, subsequently misused, by her clan who eventually incite an uprising against the Emperor. Coming in at a compact 90 minutes this color feature (in well chosen hues) fits in well to Mizoguchi's oeuvre but lacks the weightiness of his masterworks.
July 10, 2012
Mizoguchi in color is a strange, strange thing. But this is one of his best films and not to be missed!
September 2, 2011
Mizoguchi hasn't failed me yet. I am still compelled even by this minor masterpiece. I am not sure though if he is as good a colorist as his other colleagues. Not that it's not good but it doesn't seem to strike me as much as Kurosawa's or Ozu's color films. The balance of color is really impressive although it's not emphasized as much. It looks too theatrical as opposed a film. However, I am not complaining. Mizoguchi's sense of placement and lightning has always been one of his greatest strengths and it's equally impressive. Princess Yang Kwei Fei is another story concerned about women. Nothing surprising here. The woman ends being the only character with any sense of reasoning, logic, honor amidst the chaos of men. She acknowledges her place in the world Mizoguchi has created and acts like it with pride and altruism.
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