A single indiscretion with a besotted servant (a young Toshirô Mifune) starts an inexorable downward spiral for young noblewoman O-Haru. Disgraced, she and her parents are sent into exile, but it soon becomes clear that a woman with a tarnished reputation has very little chance of making good in 17th-century feudal Japan. With ravishing black-and-white cinematography and an austere formality in the direction, Kenji Mizoguchi's 1952 masterpiece is a beautifully crafted example of a past era in Japanese film-making.

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The Life Of O-Haru

A single indiscretion with a besotted servant (a young Toshir