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Repertory Picks

Mizoguchi in Chicago

This Saturday, as part of its monthlong series celebrating the career of legendary Japanese actor Toshiro Mifune, Chicago’s Gene Siskel Film Center will screen Kenji Mizoguchi’s 1952 The Life of Oharu on 35 mm. Adapted from poet-novelist Ihara Saikaku’s 1686 book The Life of an Amorous Woman, the film follows the descent of its eponymous heroine (Kinuyo Tanaka) from her status as a prominent lady-in-waiting to an aging street prostitute. Featuring Mifune as the forbidden love of Oharu’s youth, this stunningly shot drama is one of Mizoguchi’s most heartbreaking explorations of the plight of women in Japanese society, and its prize-winning success at the Venice Film Festival marked the director’s international breakthrough after three decades of prolific output.

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