Translation Practice II: Reflections on Kenji Mizoguchi’s "A Life in Film" (From my Mandarin dairy.)

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Dec 11, 2018 18:30
The sacrifice of women for men makes me remind the similar plots in traditional Chinese opera (Xiqu) such as Tale of the Pipa, Rain on the Wutong Tree and more.
In the ancient Chinese context, the male characters often face the choice between the pursuit of promotion in politics and his wife/ lover. I’ve heard that the film Zangiku monogatari was adapted from a novel, and the story was very popular during that time. Does this film represent “an ideal woman” from male perspective? or make us provoke thoughts by the tragic love story about a wonderful woman? Why this kind of stories was popular? I am very curious about how social contexts reflect the different tastes.

Zangiku monogatari is the first film of Kenji Mizoguchi’s “Trilogy of Geido.” It is said that they are based on the Japanese traditional arts including kabuki (classical Japanese dance-drama), Bunraku (traditional Japanese puppet theatre) and Buyō (Japanese dance). The main male characters rebel the traditional systems while are continuously polishing himself to be on top of the field. These films focus on how the women behind these men offer supports silently.

In the beginning, as a young master who was ignorant of worldly affairs, Kiku finally grow and achieve the peak of artistic career through experiencing the fickleness of human nature after running away from home. Even though Otoku seems a docile wife, she shows an uncompromising and frank attitude about Kiku’s performance in the arts. Is it implicated honesty and perfectionism as the important features of arts?

Furthermore, the beauty of kabuki’s music and dance is revealed in Zangiku monogatari. The antique and graceful atmosphere is engrossing.