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A sublime, perfectly modulated story of doomed love between a merchant's wife and a servant, set in 17th-century Japan and drawn from the repertory of Japan's puppet theater, the Bunraku. Kenji Mizoguchi's 1954 film has the most imaginative sound track of any of his films, and while the story lacks the awesome power of his Ugetsu and Sansho the Bailiff (both made during the same period), it still remains essential viewing.

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