Final Films Part #1: "Street of Shame" (赤線地帯 Akasen chitai)

07/05/09

03:32:59 pm, by jeff Email ,

Final Films Part #1: "Street of Shame" (赤線地帯 Akasen chitai)

Final Films Part #1: “Street of Shame” (赤線地帯 Akasen chitai)

1956.
85 Minutes.
Black & White.
In Japanese with English subtitles.

This was the last film of Mizoguchi Kenji (more known for “Ugetsu” and “Sansho The Bailiff").
It is based on the novel “Susaki no Onna” by Yoshiko Shibaki.

The story follows five women (Hanae, Yumeko, Yorie, Yasumi, Mickey) who work at “Dreamland", a brothel in Tokyo’s Yoshiwara district. They are of different ages and personalities; some work to support their entire family, while others work hard to simply make money, to live an individual life. The Diet (government) is set to decide if prostitution should be banned, which affects the future of all five women. More importantly, the film transcends the issue of prostitution and instead, focuses on the same human emotions that people deal with in 2009.

The film is highly recommended because Mizoguchi never judges his women. He engulfs you in their world. Therefore, do not be mislead by the English title. The film is known in Japan as “Off Limits". Without tainting the potential viewer’s experience, “Street of Shame” is neither hopeful nor hopeless; it exists on another level.

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