The Princess Yang Kwei Fei (Ykihi) - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

The Princess Yang Kwei Fei (Ykihi) Reviews

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½ January 23, 2013
Mizoguchi always had a special interest in the plight of women, recognizing that societies have often given them a raw deal. Set in China in the 8th century, the story of Yang Kwei Fei is another tragedy, detailing how one servant girl had no control over her own life and fate. The Emperor, though sympathetically portrayed in the script and by Masayuki Mori, benefits from having Kwei Fei attend to his whims (even as he claims to be shackled himself by bureaucracy, a possible sardonic counterpoint to Kwei Fei's own social shackles). Yang Kwei Fei, acted by Machiko Kyo, is seen as a means of securing political power, subsequently misused, by her clan who eventually incite an uprising against the Emperor. Coming in at a compact 90 minutes this color feature (in well chosen hues) fits in well to Mizoguchi's oeuvre but lacks the weightiness of his masterworks.
½ July 10, 2012
Mizoguchi in color is a strange, strange thing. But this is one of his best films and not to be missed!
April 18, 2012
Mizoguchi hasn't failed me yet. I am still compelled even by this minor masterpiece. I am not sure though if he is as good a colorist as his other colleagues. Not that it's not good but it doesn't seem to strike me as much as Kurosawa's or Ozu's color films. The balance of color is really impressive although it's not emphasized as much. It looks too theatrical as opposed a film. However, I am not complaining. Mizoguchi's sense of placement and lightning has always been one of his greatest strengths and it's equally impressive. Princess Yang Kwei Fei is another story concerned about women. Nothing surprising here. The woman ends being the only character with any sense of reasoning, logic, honor amidst the chaos of men. She acknowledges her place in the world Mizoguchi has created and acts like it with pride and altruism.
April 18, 2012
It's not the greatest Mizoguchi film. It struck me as less careful visually than his best work and it crams too much story into 90mins but it is still very powerful at times. The ending is marvelous.
February 18, 2011
When looking for a filmmaker to be compared to John Ford is often used to Hawks and Walsh, I think mostly because the three were American, of the same generation, and the three filmed westerns. For me the closest Ford has always been Mizoguchi, if not in the way of filming, planning, yes at the bottom of their stories. The highlight of this film (and one of the most serene and beautiful Japanese film), where we see the beloved of the emperor addressed to the implementation, is proof of that. Mizoguchi closes the plane without showing his death, just as Ford does not show that of Dr. Cartwright at the end of seven women (Seven Women, 1965), the film that put an end to his filmography. The same love, the same respect for his characters, manages to unite the eyes of two of the greatest artists of the twentieth century.
½ October 12, 2010
It's been quite a while since I watched any Mizoguchi. And this one is quite a novelty: it's in color, one of only two color films in his oeuvre. And I might be mistaken, but I think it's only one in a non-Japanese's based on a Chinese legend, kind of a Cinderella story with a tragic twist. It's also less concerned about the suffering of women than is usual for Mizoguchi, and is more about the perils of feudalism. The color is lovely, but I find it incongruous with Mizoguchi's style, and seems to undermine the seriousness of the proceedings (it also highlights the obvious cheapness of the sets). It's far from his best work, but it's satisfying enough. Machiko Kyo is wonderful as always, and her relationship with Masayuki Mori (trivia note: the two also played the couple in Rashomon) is quite touching.
½ April 5, 2010
Kenji Mizoguchi's first color film was a co-production with the Hong Kong based Shaw Brothers, taking a famous Chinese parable about an 8th century emperor and the concubine he takes who looks like his beloved dead wife, and awkwardly infusing it with Japanese actors and aesthetics that all but turned off critics and audiences when released. Today it's a curio in his late canon, the color photography is beautiful, as is the attention to period detail (especially the costumes, always a plus in Mizoguchi's jidaigeki), but famous stars Masayuki Mori and Machiko Kyo (of "Rashomon") are a bit stiff beneath all of the pretty set dressing.
March 2, 2010
Romantic tragedy by Japanese director Kenji Mizoguchi in glorious color. The stars were both in Mizoguchi's "Ugetsu" ; and both in Kurosawa's "Rashomon" : there as the samurai couple. Kyu was also in "Gate of Hell" while Mori has the lead role in "Hakuchi" [The Idiot], a splendid adaptation of Dostoyevski's famous novel. Toshiro Mifune is in both Kurosawa films, but not in the Mizoguchi films.
December 26, 2009
En une heure quarante, le film aborde sans retenue les themes de la servilite des femmes a l'epoque, de la difficulte d'etre a la fois empereur et homme, de la convoitise devorante de l'entourage politique d'un empereur tout-puissant, de l'amour inconditionnel. Ni fioriture ni maladresse, pas de montage parallele inutile, de travelling avant insense, de contreplongee improbable : le cineaste maitrise a la perfection son art. Chaque idee de mise en scene parait etre une ordonnance de l'Ame du cinema, et le film est une riviere d'idees de mise en scene. C'est une tapisserie brodee avec cette Ame magique.
½ July 10, 2009
interesting art direction. seems it refers to many paintings of Tang Dynasty quite seriously, but imposes very weird materials and colouring, such as the funny marble columns of buildings and costume of bright colours. the effect of costume, and the music as well, eventually are a little bit "japanese". although this may match with the real history (regarding many aspects of Tang culture was transferred to and freezed in japan), it may look more natural if it was shot in black/white! but i guess the art director intentionally avoided the japanese style and emphasized the unique chinese style.
anyway, to ordinary people, no matter what nationality, i guess none of them would think the art direction beautiful. even, it s quite ugly!
January 20, 2008
Mizoguchi s'est plutot mal adapte a la couleur, ce film est un de ses moins aboutis.
½ November 14, 2007
unfortunately, the only mizoguchi film i have seen that was not sublime.
½ October 10, 2007
Très très beau mélo.
Premier des deux films de Mizoguchi réalisés en couleurs.
½ June 11, 2006
Seriously made me doubt the qualifications of Oriental (politically incorrectness here) cinema for quite awhile, this is not worth watching even for followers of epics such as Ran or Seven Samurai. The pacing is daunting, the cinematography is half-ass (Which is especially odd during the open ground scenery in such films) and the acting is quite stale - even for a 1950's "dynasty" flick.
½ May 30, 2006
An excellent 90 minute Asian romance film that's definitely worth checking out if you can find it.
½ May 30, 2006
You know, I see very few Asian romance movies. Seeing as how I've loved almost all the ones I've seen, this is a cause of some dismay for me. I'd also like to point out that it would have taken Akira Kurosawa 4 and a half hours to tell this story. And there would be no significant roles for women. How would he pull that off? That's why he's the genius and you aren't.
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