The Love of Sumako the Actress (Joyu Sumako no Koi)
Dir. Kenji Mizoguchi. 1947, 95 mins. 35mm print from the National Film Center (Tokyo). With Kinuyo Tanaka, So Yamamura. In this wrenching drama, Mizoguchi returns to Utamaro’s theme of the consuming, singleminded drive of the pure creator—but here he has a female artist as his protagonist. Sumako Matsui, one of Japan’s first actresses and an unapologetic nonconformist, attracts the eye of director Shimamura, who breaks up his family to be with her. We follow Sumako and Shimamura’s company, innovators in Western-style drama, through her breakthrough in Ibsen’s A Doll’s House, their hard times on the road, and finally through her tragic over-identification with the character of “Carmen.”
Free with Museum admission on a first-come, first-served basis. Museum members may reserve tickets in advance by calling 718 777 6800. For more information on membership and to join online, visit our membership page.