Two geisha sisters lead a hard life in Kyoto’s Gion district. When one of them feels obliged to help a ruined businessman, the other sister cooks up various schemes to get rid of him.
Whereas one sister embodies love, true feelings and very traditional discretion in expressing her emotions, the other flouts codes and morals. By often filming distant sequence shots, Mizoguchi renders this complex and precisely detailed account of geisha life, and begins to raise his mise-en-scène to the highest summits of cinema. Writing about this masterpiece, Noël Simsolo rightly points out that Mizoguchi gives a premonitory glimpse of what will determine the rest of his oeuvre: “ the expression of a lucid and desperate gaze on the alienation of women”. Produced by Daiichi, the film was distributed by Shochiku. JB