Among the giants of Japanese cinema, Kenji Mizoguchi may not have the mainstream Western popularity of Akira Kurosawa or the instantly-recognizable style of Yasujiro Ozu, but his body of work is certainly worthy to stand alongside theirs. With such classics to his name as Ugetsu and The Life of Oharu, Mizoguchi was a master filmmaker in his own right, but of the Mizoguchi films I’ve seen, none can compare to his 1954 masterpiece Sansho the Bailiff, the source of last week’s quiz. A meditation on the difficulty of doing good in a cruel world, Sansho is undeniably a downer, but it’s also a riveting piece of work, with plenty of gorgeous camera moves and black-and-white cinematography. Congrats to those who guessed it.
Sansho, of course, is just one of the many great Criterion Collection DVDs one could buy with the $25 Criterion Store gift card that’s the prize for winning this round. With four weeks left in competition, it’s still anyone’s game. Let’s see who can guess this one:
“Do me a favor, will you? Next time you have one of these things, keep it an all-British operation.”
“I’ll try, lieutenant.”
As always, e-Mail your guesses to this address. Remember, all submissions must be received no later than 11:59 PM Wednesday. Good luck!