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Yoshiwara The Pleasure Quarter

Japan (MIFF 2005, Uchida Tomu)

Director: Uchida Tomu

A glorious, dynamic melodrama written by Mizoguchi collaborator Yoda Yoshikata, [Yoshiwara: The Pleasure Quarter] ranks among Uchida's finest films. A successful textile industrialist from the provinces is beloved by his employees for his kindness, but cannot find a wife because of a disfiguring birthmark on his face. Even the Yoshiwara courtesans refuse to entertain him, until an indentured peasant prostitute, Tamarazu, takes on the unsavoury assignment. "The scar is not on your heart," she tells him with bold tenderness. The grateful businessman falls madly in love with her, but the financial and personal ruin he risks to purchase her freedom do little to win Tamarazu's true love, even as they ensure her ascension to the rank of courtesan. In the face of their fluctuating fortunes and conflicting dreams, he cracks, turning the lavish ceremony that marks Tamarazu's ascension into a climactic finale. The lively evocation of life in Tokyo's pleasure quarter, the detailed portrait of social life, the sumptuous set and costume design, and wonderful leading performances make [Yoshiwara] seem like some kind of lost classic.
D Uchida Tomu P Tamaki Jun'ichiro S Yoda Yoshikata WS Toei Company Ltd L Japanese w/English subtitles TD 35mm/col/1960/109mins

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