Among the most sublimely devastating of master director Kenji Mizoguchi’s celebrated portraits of fallen women, The Life of Oharu stars the infinitely touching Kinuyo Tanaka as a once-proud concubine whose tragic fate is governed by the callous whims of men and the cruel jealousies of women as she slides into a life of prostitution in Edo-era Japan. Sensitive as always to the rigid social structures that subjugate his heroines, Mizoguchi offers a distinctly Japanese alternative to the operatic Sturm und Drang of Western weepies; this is finely wrought, small-gesture melodrama, in which the subtlest movement or camera angle is calibrated for maximum heartbreak effect.