This heartrending masterpiece by Kenji Mizoguchi about the give-and-take between life and art marked the directorâs first use of the hypnotic long takes and eloquent camera movements that would come to define his films. The adopted son of legendary kabuki actor Kikunosuke (Shotaro Hanayagi), who is striving to achieve stardom by mastering female roles, turns to his infant brotherâs wet nurse (Kakuko Mori) for support and affectionâand she soon gives up everything for her belovedâs creative glory. Featuring fascinating glimpses behind the scenes of kabuki theater in the late nineteenth century, The Story of the Last Chrysanthemum
is a critique of the oppression of women and the sacrifices required of them, and the pinnacle of Mizoguchiâs early career.
- New interview with critic Phillip Lopate about the evolution of director Kenji Mizoguchiâs style
- Insert featuring an essay by film scholar Dudley Andrew