Sansho the Bailiff (Sanshô dayû)1954
Sansho the Bailiff (Sanshô dayû) (1954)
Sansho the Bailiff (Sanshô dayû) Photos
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as Sanshô dayû
as Masauji Taira
as Prime Minister Morozane Fujiwara
as Minister of Justice
as Zushio as a Boy
as Zushio as an Infant
as Anju as a Girl
as Ritsushi Kumotake
as Kaikudo Naiko
as Masasue Taira
as Manager of a Brothel
as The Other Nakagimi
Critic Reviews for Sansho the Bailiff (Sanshô dayû)
At some point during the watching, "Sansho the Bailiff" stops being a fable or a narrative and starts being a lament, and by that time it is happening to us as few films do.
It illuminates the human condition and gives you plenty of time to think. It is the nature of nature to show no mercy, but mercy is inherent to the nature of human beings, even when it seems buried under loads of suffering.
Mizoguchi is the poet laureate of Japanese cinema, gracefully exploring the battered but resilient souls in the cruel worlds of Japan's feudal past and present.
Audience Reviews for Sansho the Bailiff (Sanshô dayû)
One of the greatest accomplishments in the history of film, concerning a family torn apart after the father, a governor, is exiled due to sticking to his morals, and how the rest of his family is sold into slavery and prostitution after attempting to find him. A damning display of slavery and a heroic tale of perseverance, there isn't an inch of pretentiousness to 'Sansho', more so a delicate simplicity that makes its points very well and never loses focus on its overarching message of honesty and integrity are two of the most important traits we as humans should possess. Almost unbearable to watch at times just because of how disturbing the conditions these slaves have to work under are, but there is always a ray of light at the end of the tunnel that takes form in the second half of the film with splendid, moving results. A dynamite, important film.
Kenji Mizoguchi's 1954 film "Sansho the Bailiff" is positively Dickensian in it's measure of human suffering, although it is apparently an old japanese fable about the virtues of mercy and compassion. When the governor of a province refuses to crack down and execute some protestors, he and his family are exiled. His wife and children are separated from him, and on their way to re-join the father they are abducted by slave traders and sold into slavery. The mother is sold to a brothel and the brother and sister are sold to Sansho the bailiff, who is overseer of the mansion belonging to the Minister of the right. Conditions for slaves there are deplorable, but the children must bide their time if they ever want to escape back to their parents. The story is quite a tear-jerker, and undoubtably a crowd pleaser with it's injustices being shown up in the end by the virtues of compassion and mercy. It's quite poignant to say the least (and I'm sure if Charles Dickens were asian and alive in the 1950s, I'm sure he'd say the same thing).
Sure it is a simple "folky" tale...and sure some of acting is a bit over the top at times (looking at you Zushio) but Mizoguchi tells (and shoots) it in a way that you can not help but enjoy.
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