Arts Listings

Moving Pictures: Pacific Film Archive Takes a Look at One of Japan’s Greatest Directors

By Justin DeFreitas
Friday August 11, 2006

Earlier this year, Pacific Film Archive presented a series of films by Mikio Naruse, bringing much deserved attention to one of Japan’s greatest filmmakers. Now they’ll follow up with a series on another Japanese master, Kenji Mizoguchi. 

Mizoguchi (1898-1956), along with Yasujiro Ozu and Akira Kurosawa, is considered one of the greatest of Japanese directors. Thirty of his films surive today, and while that may seem like a hefty output, it apparently represents just a third of his ouvre. Mizoguchi’s movies are not readily available on video, so the PFA series represents a rare opportunity to see many of these films. 

Mizoguchi began as a painter and a newspaper page designer before venturing into film. His style is noted for long takes and a fluid, moving camera, with particularly effective use of space and motion.  

David Thomson, in his Biographical Dictionary of Film, says that Mizoguchi “has no superior at the unfolding of narrative by way of camera movement.” 

“Unfolding Mizoguchi: Seven Classics” will feature films from various periods of the director’s career, and will include Ugetsu, the film for which he is best known.  






8:45 p.m. Friday, Aug. 11: 

Sisters of the Gion  


7 p.m. Friday, Aug. 18: 

Osaka Elegy  


8:45 p.m. Friday, Aug. 18: 



7 p.m. Friday, Aug. 25 

Street of Shame 


8:50 Friday, Aug. 25: 

Sansho the Bailiff  


5:30 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 27: 

The Life of Oharu 


7:30 Wednesday, Aug. 30: 

The Story of the Last Chrysanthemums