Kenji Mizoguchi’s hauntingly beautiful adaptation of Shofu Muramatsu’s popular novel stars Shotaro Hanayagi as Kikunosuke Onoe, a young actor and the adopted son of a Kabuki star in late-19th-century Tokyo. Failing to meet the standards set by his father, Onoe estranges himself from his family by entering into a relationship with Otoku (Kakuko Mori), his newborn brother’s nurse, who makes agonizing self-sacrifices to advance her beloved Onoe’s career. Mizoguchi thoughtfully conveys a culture’s social limitations and repressive gender roles while maintaining a pitch-perfect balance of tragedy and romance. With its flowing camera movements, delicate long takes, and measured choreography of actors, this masterpiece is marked by splendorous interplay of movement and space, and is a poignant tale of conflict between generations and, most pointedly, of female sacrifice.