Osaka Elegy (Woman of Osaka) (Naniwa erejÓ) - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

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

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November 28, 2016
Made in 1936, this is the Japanese equivalent of The Sin of Madelon Claudet and similar to Stella Dallas released in 1937 in which the centered protagonist who happens to be a female attempts to do good surrounded by the bad people around her.
November 10, 2016
A simple example of early sound film drama that dares to be honest about life's difficulties, and works entirely on the keen script, direction, and performances.
August 3, 2016
The first film included in the Criterion Collewction's "Mizoguchi's Fallen Women", this is the story of Ayako (a pretty great Isuzu Yamada who, according to this website, is still wonderfully with us), who is a switchboard operator who needs 300 yen to prevent her father getting in major trouble. To get the money, she spends time with her boss. This is, of course, little more than being a companion. One of Mizoguchi's gifts as a director (he also wrote the story) is that in many of his films his characters were not sympathetic yet he does not wholly judge the. The key is, what would you do? The film could never be in color, it is a noirish, gray film. The story is compelling, the acting is uniformly good, with Ms. Yamada really standing out, and the direction is, of course, flawless. I've also seen "Sisters Of The Gion" and "Streets Of Shame" from this collection. Buy it! Mizoguchi was one of the giants of 20th century cinema from any country. This film is highly recommended.
July 3, 2016
This is a great film from the Master Kenji Mizoguchi and is now the 3 rd of his I've seen after "Sansho the Bailiff" and "Ugetsu". This is an earlier work of his, from 1936, but I was impressed by how stylishly shot it was and the solid camera work. It is an examination of double-standards as a young woman does everything/anything she can to help her family who are in financial trouble, and is cast out in disgrace as a result. The film is powerfully told and highly recommended!
February 6, 2016
Japanese melodrama, beautifully filmed and performed.
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.
½ February 16, 2014
A classic tale of a fallen woman - fallen because of society's attitudes. Skillfully told.
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.
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.
November 19, 2011
okay i may watch this if available ...
November 19, 2011
I'd rather watch one of this directors other works.
Super Reviewer
½ 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.
August 27, 2011
One of the first fallen women themes for Mizoguchi. An okay social/family drama. I didn't even recognize Takashi Shimura until I saw the credits later, wow!
May 18, 2011
Technically, this is one of the turning-points in Mizoguchi's earliest career. The long tracking shots, while not as elaborating as it's known of, can be seen here, probably marking it one of the most advanced film techniques in Japanese film history. As for the story, it's still as plain dull as Sisters of the Gion, with some contradicting characterizations.
February 14, 2011
A profound and lyrical study in desperation about a woman unjustly suffocating in a man's world. Mizoguchi's style, as usual, is stunning; even this early in his career he fills his frames with tight compositions and complicated camera work which makes just about any other director working in the thirties look lazy and uncreative. But what makes Mizoguchi such a master is that he doesn't depend on his complex mise-en-scene to tap into his audience- his characters are always incredibly emotional, made of real flesh and bone, and these are no exception. Isuzu Yamada's performance, in a brief seventy-one minutes, is thick and transformative; she captures both the innocence of her early victimization and the tragedy of her later overblown maturity.
½ June 23, 2010
WEB. La maestrŪa de Mizoguchi hace maravillas con esta historia sobre lo ordinario, un escenario perfecto para la tragedia desde el poťtico lente del director./ Mizoguchi's mastery works wonders with this story about the ordinary, a perfect scenario for tragedy as shot by the director's poetic lense.
May 31, 2010
This film is from 1936, not 1979 as the FB heading suggests. For those of us who are genuinely interested in women in contemporary society, Mizoguchi's films are essential to understanding modern Japanese women and the challenges they faced. Isuzu Yamada is great in her role of Ayako, the telephone operator who engages with her boss to bail out her father's debt, and then prostitutes herself to another executive to pay for her brother's tuition, afterwhich she is outcast by society on every respectable level, including the man who claims to love her, and the family she helped. Unlike the social-realist expressions of bleakness we find in Dreisser, here the protagonist is spunky and witty and sees through the hypocrisy around her, and is strong enough to walk ahead along her own path, regardless of the shame that's heaped on her and the uncertainty of her direction. It's easy to cheer her as she goes, and rightly so. Human independence of mind and spirit, in man or woman, is always refreshing. Mizoguchi's filmmaking is new to us in this film-obsessed household, and it's true love. Soft black and white, light and shadows, gleaming lines and surfaces, the modern world, deco-style Japan, great shots of subways, department stores, apartment buildings, the city, fashion, attitudes, and all in location-shot 1936 Osaka. Men, women, money, parents and children, the things people do for each other to survive. The elegance of the camera, the economy of narrative, the characters, and in the midst of it, a Bunraku puppet performance at an Osaka theater. Wow, is it ever cool to see this documented. Evokes very strong associations with Being John Malkovich in theme and even style, as the comic touches here are mostly ironic. As with that contemporary piece, in Osaka Elegy people use and abuse each other to get what they want, and then pay the price in the wreckage of love. Fascinating that Mizoguchi developed an entire career to charting the challenge of being a woman in modern Japan. Refreshing to see such resilience on display during a time many of us think people were looking the other way. Not so. Great, great stuff.
½ May 26, 2010
It's more of a historical/ auteurist curiosity than anything else. Still, it often displays a fine sense of visual style and composition.
May 17, 2010
a superb, biting melodrama. a good movie all around. (and short!)
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