Portrait of Madame Yuki (Yuki Fujin Ezu)
Dir. Kenji Mizoguchi. 1950, 88 mins. 35mm print from the National Film Center (Tokyo). With Michiyo Kogure, Yoshiko Kuga, Ken Uehara, Eijiro Yanagi. Born into a family of country gentry, Yuki lost everything in the war. Now she is mistreated by her loutish, insolvent husband, who nevertheless holds her in thrall sexually. When she fails to find comfort in the arms of a less virile neighbor, the inhibitions of her class conditioning leave her with no way out. This film of frank eroticism, and one of Mizoguchi’s most detailed portraits of entrapped, embattled psychology in extremis, is justly famed for the overwhelming pathos of its final sequence.
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