Princess Yang Kwei-fei (Yokihi)
Dir. Kenji Mizoguchi. 1955, 98 mins. 35mm print from the Japan Foundation. With Machiko Kyo, Masayuki Mori, So Yamamura. The court of Tang Dynasty China comes to vivid life in Mizoguchi’s ravishingly beautiful Princess Yang Kwei-fei, the filmmaker’s first film in color, which shows his compositional brilliance undiminished by the transition from black-and-white. A servant from the destitute countryside, Yang Kwei-fei becomes the consort of Emperor Huan Tsung, still grief-stricken and in mourning for his dead wife. Even in her new exalted position, however, the Princess remains the tool of her scheming family, and reaps the resentment sown by their manipulations among the peasantry.
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