The Story of the Last Chrysanthemum 1939 Criterion Collection
The story set in the late 1800s, in the middle of the Meiji period which marked the transition from feudalism to modern empire. This is the story of Kikunosuke Onoe (Shotaro Hanayagi), the adopted son of kabuki master Kikugoro Onoe (Gonjuro Kawarazaki). Kiku is being groomed to take his father's place, but is falling short; he spends his time partying with geishas and getting drunk instead of honing his talent. He is fawningly flattered to his face by sycophants who ridicule him behind his back. The only one who can see his potential is Otoku (Kakuko Mori), a servant girl who works in his father's household. Although she is socially far beneath him, her devotion spurs him on, eventually inspiring him to rebel against his family, to strike out on his own. The film chronicles his professional vicissitudes in parallel with his difficult relationship with Otoku, who joins him despite the opposition of both their families. Kiku sinks into obscurity and poverty without the support of the family name, reduced to the lowest levels of theatre as a member of a traveling company, eventually cheated and abandoned by their manager. And yet he gradually reshapes himself until he emerges as a master of kabuki in the role of Sumizome, a geisha who is also a tree spirit, returning in glory to his family for a reconciliation. But all this is at the cost of the health, and finally the life, of the woman who has sacrificed herself in order to transform him into a genuine artist.

Director: Kenji Mizoguchi
Cast: Shotaro Hanayagi, Kokichi Takada, Ryotaro Kawanami
Country: Japan
Genre: Drama, Romance

-- Phillip Lopate - in this brand new video interview, critic Phillip Lopate discusses the main qualities that define Kenji Mizoguchi's style (lensing choices/camera positioning, long takes, editing preferences), his reputation as a Director of Women, The Story of the Last Chrysanthemum and the manner in which Kenji Mizoguchi purified his directing method, the kabuki sequences, the main protagonist and his difficult relationship with his family, etc. The interview was conducted exclusively for Criterion in New York in 2016. In English, not subtitled. (22 min, 1080p).

DVD9 | NTSC 4:3 | 02:23:45 | 7.08 Gb + 3% rec
Language: Japanese
Subtitles: English

Download Zangiku monogatari / The Story of the Last Chrysanthemum (1939) DVD9 Criterion Collection:


BD50 | 1080p AVC | 02:23:51 | 43.4 Gb + 3% rec
Language: Japanese
Subtitles: English

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