Chikamatsu monogatari (The Crucified Lovers)


Chikamatsu monogatari (The Crucified Lovers) (1954)



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Movie Info

Master filmmaker Kenji Mizoguchi directs this tale of star-crossed lovers, based on a puppet play by Monzaemon Chikamatsu. Set in 1693 during a period of rigid feudal hierarchy and strict social customs, the film unfolds in the estate of a miserly scroll maker named Ishun (Eitaro Shindo). While Ishun busies himself by harassing a comely worker named Otama (Yoko Minamida), Ishun's wife, Osan (Kyoko Kagawa), is approached by her ne'er-do-well brother, Doki, who needs money. Knowing that there is no way that Ishun will agree to the loan, Osan turns to Mohei (Kazuo Shindo), Ishun's most trusted clerk, for help and he agrees to use his master's seal to allocate the funds. Caught in the act, he confesses though never implicating Osan. Ishun cruelly beats and humiliates his employee and locks him in the grain storeroom. A series of mistakes and misunderstandings lead to Ishun believing that his wife and his clerk are having an illicit affair. Mohei flees and Osan leaves soon thereafter, confirming Ishun's suspicions. The two escape first to Osaka then to the mountains around Lake Biwa, traveling first as lady and servant and later as lovers.


Critic Reviews for Chikamatsu monogatari (The Crucified Lovers)

All Critics (6) | Top Critics (2)

This truly is a story from Chikamatsu, within which the ballad of Mohei and Osan exerts a pitiless mechanical force, like a trebuchet, that forever alters the lives of those around them.

Apr 5, 2018 | Full Review…

Condenses a wide array of injustices-as well as an extraordinary romantic power-into its brisk and wide-ranging action.

Apr 2, 2018 | Full Review…

'A Story from Chikamatsu' will make you angry, but first it will move you to the core.

Dec 20, 2018 | Rating: 4/4 | Full Review…

This film may be a better starting point than other films by Mizoguchi. It's less mystical than the frequently canonized Sansho the Bailiff and Ugetsu, and more high-concept than The Story of the Last Chrysanthemums. Of course, it's just as rich.

Sep 19, 2018 | Full Review…

Hardly Mizoguchi's finest film, but this period passion play has moments of brilliance amidst all the complicated melodrama.

Feb 19, 2008 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for Chikamatsu monogatari (The Crucified Lovers)

Set in 17th century Japan, and based on a 1715 play by Chikamatsu Monzaemon (hence the title, 'A Story From Chikamatsu'), this film starts with a rich scroll-maker (Eitaro Shindo) refusing to give his wife (Kyoko Kagawa) money. When she turns to one of his top apprentices (Kazuo Hasegawa), she sets in motion of a chain of events that ultimately have them fleeing together, because the apprentice, normally a virtuous man, intended to take the money from the scroll-maker and was caught. The story reveals emotion and desire that is both on the surface, such as the scroll-maker sexually harassing a young servant (Yoko Minamida), as well as that which is concealed. It shows us the randomness of events which may cause everything to suddenly change in one's life; as the wife puts it at one point, "Nothing is more unpredictable than a person's fate. In just one day, all of this has happened to us." If you've ever had your life flip suddenly because of love, you'll identify. The film also shows the all-too-common fate of women; the advice given to the young servant being harassed is to "Just take it. That's the duty of an employee." Adultery is also blamed first and foremost on the women ("It's frightening what women are capable of"), and it's ominous when a couple of adulterers are being led through the town to be crucified early on in the film. It's a solid film throughout - the cast is strong, the story is well told, and there are some gorgeous scenes, one of which is in a bamboo forest. I don't think it's going to blow you away, but it's a good one.

Antonius Block
Antonius Block

Super Reviewer

As someone who is not a film student or critic, I believe I got less out of the film. For a casual viewer, it's still a relatively engaging film provided you're into (period) drama and don't run screaming at subtitles or black and white.

Kylie B
Kylie B

Super Reviewer

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