Kenji Mizoguchi’s adaptation of Chikamatsu Monzaemon’s 17th-century jōruri play about an apprentice scroll-maker (Kazuo Hasegawa) who runs away with his master’s young wife (Kyōko Kagawa) is, like Sansho the Bailiff (released earlier in the same year) and Ugetsu before them, a film of extraordinary beauty and force. Per Akira Kurosawa, A Story from Chikamatsu (Chikamatsu monogatari) is “a great masterpiece that could only have been made by Mizoguchi.” Screenwriter Yoshikata Yoda remembered the director giving him the following instructions: “Be stronger, dig more deeply. You have to seize man, not in some of his superficial aspects, but in his totality.” In other words, a quest, and one that was at the heart of Mizoguchi’s greatest works. A Janus Films release.
Restored by KADOKAWA Corporation and The Film Foundation at Cineric, Inc. in New York with sound by Audio Mechanics, with the cooperation of The Japan Foundation. Special thanks to Masahiro Miyajima and Martin Scorsese for their consultation.