The Films of Mizoguchi Kenji (1898-1956)
This course will focus on the films of one of the three most renowned directors from Japan, Mizoguchi Kenji, through the lens of a recent book about the author, Mizoguchi Kenji-ron: Eiga no bigaku to seijigaku (On Mizoguchi Kenji: The Aesthetics and Politics of Film, 2016) by Kinoshita Chika. More precisely, we will be using Kinoshita's 2007 dissertation in English on the director, Mise-en-scène of desire: The films of Mizoguchi Kenji (The University of Chicago), upon which her 2016 monograph is based. Twenty of his films are available with English subtitles, and we will try to see as many of them as time and access allow.
While focusing on the director's oeuvre, we will also explore many basic elements of film analysis, and examine the performances of a number of famous actors, including Tanaka Kinuyo, Irie Takako, Okada Tokihiko, Yamada Isuzu, Mori Masayuki, Mifune Toshirō, and Kyō Machiko.