Sansho the Bailiff (Sanshô dayû) - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Sansho the Bailiff (Sanshô dayû) Reviews

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½ August 25, 2017
It is a beautiful, uplifting and sad story that will teach or reinforce life lessons essential for any human being.
August 22, 2017
A deep yearning captured perfectly by Mizoguchi. Becomes a lesson on life that is both historically, culturally informative, but also useful and compatible today.
June 3, 2017
Immortal classic of Japanese cinema. Dark Ages weren't only in Europe, Japanese people suffered then too. And slavery is not about only black people either like modern mainstream media tries to convince us. This powerful movie depicts a dark period of Japanese history when slavery flourished on their lands. It's very emotional and looks very authentic and the song sang by the mother is heart-wrenching. A must see.
½ May 24, 2017
This beautifully-shot, black-and-white film will surely captivate you from the beginning till the end with its story, and likable characters.
January 1, 2017
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.
October 1, 2016
Um filme perfeito em todos os níveis. Uma família é desmembrada ao longo do tempo por questões políticas e sociais até que os filhos se tornem escravos na era medieval japonesa. O diretor conduz a narrativa de forma simples e natural permitindo seus atores brilharem, mas sem que eles exagerem (algo que às vezes acontece nos filmes de Akira Kurosawa, mas tal exagero não é um demérito para aquele diretor). Apesar de característico da época a fotografia preto e branco dá mais peso ao filme, assim algumas cenas acabam ainda mais dramáticas mesmo com algum tom de previsibilidade. O final é belíssimo e de uma ternura que considero incontestável. Dá pra ver de graça no youtube.
March 6, 2016
cinema's most profound film about the human condition.
world cinema's best drama.
February 13, 2015
an absolutely amazing and absorbing film. I loved every minute of this movie.
January 3, 2015
A masterpiece from Japanese legend Kenji Mizoguchi features a great story and is a real technical achievement. This is the first Mizoguchi film I've seen, and I can now seen why he is held in the same regard as Ozu and Kurosawa as the big 3 of Japanese cinema. This is a MUST watch!
December 26, 2014
Simply one of the best films ever made.
September 22, 2014
A beautifully-acted portrayal of human suffering and redemption that transcends place, era, and status.
July 31, 2014
A moving masterpiece of narrative and theme. Mizoguchi's calm, poetic filmmaking caries the weight of time itself, links between fathers and sons, kindness and cruelty, ruin and redemption landing with stirring heft.
July 16, 2014
I'm always weary of giving a 5 star review on only a single viewing, but this is one that I just can't see any other way of scoring. I loved it, and it's an example of the sort of films I'd love to one day be apart of. Complex and sophisticated themes wrapped in a fairly simple story. It was a beautiful and heartbreaking experience that I know I won't ever forget.
April 16, 2014
Kenji mizoguchi's masterpiece. mizoguchi's emotional,political centered drama film is without doubt a pure example of the human condition sub-genre in film,corruption and drama. The performances are outstanding,touching and realistic (mizoguchi's usually used non-professional actors for his films). Miizoguchi's Sansho its a beautiful film.
½ March 29, 2014
Shockingly well composed film. Like watching a Wes Anderson film, every frame is a gift. A sad, grueling story, compelling and well constructed, well acted and delivered.
March 26, 2014
A cinematic masterpiece of poetry and tragedy; one of Mizoguchi's best films.
March 4, 2014
Handsomely told, richly layered and truly heart-rending, Sansho Dayu is one of Mizoguchi's most dramatically satisfying films with incredibly poignant performances and beautifully staged scenes.
Super Reviewer
March 1, 2014
Sansho the Bailiff is a brutally heart wrenching film about a family torn apart and sold into slavery despite their wealth and family name. The film explores themes of redemption and acceptance as well as kindness and staying true to oneself and morality. Beautifully filmed with amazing landscape shots and plenty of long shots, Sansho the Bailiff is stunning to watch and filled with emotion. It's more a drama and doesn't contain traditonal samurai battles but rather keeps the story and characters the sole focus, and this gives it humanity and helps connect the viewer. Highly Recommended for Japanese film lovers or Classic film fans that want an emotional but utterly hopeful drama.
November 26, 2013
Sansho The Bailiff is a flawless masterpiece of drama. I have seen many superb dramas, but this one is unmistakably one of the all-time greats of the genre I've seen. It's a drama made with such care and precision, and all the effort that was put into it clearly shows. In fact, everything about is so precise, even the little details the viewer generally doesn't notice seem to be alive and carefully crafted. It's a drama rife with emotion and power within in every frame and all of it matters. The story is exceptional, the acting is superb, and the drama never feels forced and contrived. It's a film about morals, loss, love, and redemption and it knows how to weave all these themes together within its intricately crafted storyline. While it's restrained and meticulous, it is a powerful and emotional drama when it wants to be and I was held in my seat the entire time as it unfolded so carefully. It's not only a masterpiece of Japanese cinema, not only a masterpiece of drama, but it is also a monumental achievement in film-making and storytelling as a whole. It's a drama that will never leave you once it's finished, and that's the best kind of drama.
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