As part of JAPANORAMA I have been inviting my movie-reviewing peers to join in. This guest post is from Will over at Silver Emulsion Film Reviews, one of my favourite sites due to the broad, eclectic taste in movies; there’s no genre he won’t check out – superhero, world cinema, B-movies, bodybuilding… it’s all there, and everything’s given an equal footing. Today Will takes on Sansho the Bailiff, a harrowing Japanese masterpiece that has been picked up by both the Criterion and Masters of Cinema collections. Will has done a full review on his site here, and you can also follow him on twitter @SilverEmulsion
Sansho the Bailiff (山椒大夫 Sanshō Dayū): an unforgettable film that takes you on a deeply affecting journey of despair and suffering. Skillfully crafted by director Kenji Mizoguchi, the film is beautifully shot, yet still hard to watch because of the emotional anguish the film puts its characters through. The story is set during feudal Japan’s Heian period, and begins when a governor is transferred to a far-off region for being too kind to his subjects. His wife and children are sent to live with his brother, but six years later they attempt the trek across country to reunite the family. This journey goes awry in ways unexpected, and the father’s creed on mercy becomes the family’s guiding light through tough times. A true masterpiece, Kenji Mizoguchi’s Sansho the Bailiff is a must-see for fans of classic and Japanese film, and a stunning picture that will haunt your soul.