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For a majority of filmgoers, the names most usually associated with classic Japanese cinema are those of Kurosawa and Ozu. Yet during the early 1950s, at the same time that Kurosawa was becoming known to the public through the release of classics such as ‘Rashomon’ and ‘The seven Samurai’, another Japanese director, Kenji Mizoguchi, quietly came out with a trilogy of films – ‘The Life of Oharu’, ‘Ugetsu Monogatari’, and ‘Sansho the Bailiff’ – that are the equal of Kurosawa’s in mastery, and that by any standard rank among the greatest and most enduring masterpieces of world cinema. This book is a study in English devoted to his work in over twenty years. Mark Le Fanu demonstrates that Mizoguchi’s films are as vibrant now as they were in his heyday, and that the director deserves the praise lavished on him by the French film review ‘Cahiers du cinema’, which recently hailed Mizoguchi as ‘the greatest of all cineastes’.