Landmark film is a cornerstone of world cinema. Master Mizoguchi's penultimate film made just 2 years before his death is about the lives of slaves in feudal Japan, has such pathos it creates an emotional intensity virtually unequaled in the history of film. Film shows how evil and depraved mankind in the pursuit of money and power. Sansho the Bailiff is the name of the evil, torturer slave owner with over 100 slaves under his control. He is so evil his own son who will supposedly inherit everything secretly despises him, and yet Mizoguchi's mastery and style of filmmaking is such that Sansho is strangely likeable. It's in the way Mizoguchi made his films. He shows you immense beauty, in the trees, in the waters, in the hills, in the mountains, in the trails, in the sky, in the animals while simultaneously showing us immense brutality. It's a misnomer, like a serene nightmare. Many legendary scenes are here, many of which are sure to haunt you for the rest of your life if you see this film just once. The film centers on a noble family of a former governor. A governor who was benevolent, kind and merciful with the peasants, but some evil person decides he is not being loyal to the warlord in doing so. So, his power is taken away, the peasants riot on his behalf but many are brutally killed as a result. His wife is sold into prostitution , and his young children are sold into slavery under Sansho's heel in 11th century Japan. The most haunting scene is when Kyoko Kagawa, the daughter, now having endured slavery for about 15 years, now a healthy and beautiful young woman commits suicide by walking into the lake to drown herself after helping her brother escape Sansho. She does it because she knows she will be tortured by Sansho into telling where her brother is hiding. It's in the loving way Mizoguchi films her suicide that is truly haunting. Another legendary scene is when her brother (now the new governor) comes back to search for his sister and to liberate all of Sansho's slaves begging forgiveness of an old man (slave for more than 50 years) that he himself tortured under Sansho's orders. The most legendary scene might be the ending in which he finds his mother, feeble and blind, due to all the torture she endured because of her many escape attempts, and her initial refusal to recognize her own son.