In making a film based on the life of a renowned eighteenth-century painter and woodblock portraitist, the great Japanese filmmaker Kenji Mizoguchi created one of his most autobiographical statements on the artistic process as well as another of his trenchant observations about the place of women in Japanese society. Focusing on the artist’s relationship with five of his female models, some of whom were found in brothels, Utamaro and His Five Women is a tender, erotic, and provocative story of the difficulties and rewards of creation. The film’s depiction of the artist getting into trouble with the authorities was intended as a commentary on the governmental control Mizoguchi felt both during and immediately following World War II.
Join Janus Films in 2018 as we celebrate the centennial of the Swedish director’s birth with a traveling retrospective of all of his theatrical films!
Commissioned to make a working-class family drama, up-and-coming director Rainer Werner Fassbinder took the assignment and ran, upending expectations by depicting social realities in West Germany from a critical—yet far from cynical—perspective.
Rainer Werner Fassbinder
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