Street of Shame

1956

Drama

91
Rotten Tomatoes Critics - Certified Fresh 82%
Rotten Tomatoes Audience - Upright 83%
IMDb Rating 7.9 10 3,515

Synopsis


Downloaded times
May 11, 2020

Cast

720p.BLU 1080p.BLU
772.97 MB
1280*720
Japanese 2.0
NR
23.976 fps
87 min
P/S N/A / N/A
1.41 GB
1920×1080
Japanese 2.0
NR
23.976 fps
87 min
P/S N/A / N/A

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by GyatsoLa 9 / 10 / 10

'we are really like social workers'.

Watching this movie almost makes me feel like delivering an apology to Mizoguchi. Thanks to the wonderful Masters of Cinema releases of his movies I've been slowly working my way through his late period movies. I love them, but I felt that the failure of so many was an excessive formality - a feeling that his characters were not real people, more symbols of various levels of society. This movie is totally different, it is packed with wonderfully realized, vivid characterizations. Ironically, its his last film, but rather than being a swansong it was absolutely cutting edge - the film has a thoroughly modern feel to it, even down to its weirdly avant garde music (the one thing about it I have to say grated with me). And I understand it was one of his biggest commercial hits, a huge success in its day. The story follows a group of prostitutes in 'Dreamland' a typical brothel of its day in the nighttime quarter of Toyko, shortly before they were made illegal. At the time, brothels were seen as mildly disreputable, but still legitimate businesses. The women work 'voluntarily', but most are trapped due to debts and poverty. They range from the tough, selfish and westernized 'Mickey', a wonderful Machiko Kyo (unrecognizable from the ghost in Ugetsu), the very beautiful Ayako Wakao as the angelic looking but thoroughly ruthless Yasumi, Aiko Mimasu as the aging Yumeko, and a variety of other characters, all without exception wonderful and believable performances. While humanizing all his characters, Mizuguchi doesn't pull punches about the desperate poverty of the time and the dire straits the women are in. The brothel owner repeatedly insists he is like a social worker, looking after poor women - and he is so convincing he believes it himself. The script never falls into the trap of didactic sermonizing, it simply lets the stories speak for themselves. Maybe Mizoguchi, who was no stranger to brothels in his private life had deeply ambiguous feelings for them himself. Its interesting to compare this movie to another similar one of this period (and a personal favourite of mine) - Mikio Naruse's 'Flowing', which is much less direct and harsh, with more of an air of sadness at how a part of Japanese society was fading away - but then again, that film was set in a more genteel upmarket geisha house. This is an immensely fine movie - structurally its amazing that such a complex story with so many characters could be so convincingly told in a relatively short run time - a lesson to all modern film makers. Its absolutely riveting and a masterclass in film making and acting. But as a final point, films like this are often difficult to end - there is no clear way of finishing a story without a clear narrative arc and how many times have we all seen great movies that let us down with a contrived or poorly thought through ending? I won't give it away, but the ending of 'Akasen Chitai' is quite unexpected and absolutely devastating. Its starkness should by rights leave it up there with the famous last scene in '400 Blows' as one of the greatest in cinema history.

Reviewed by zetes 10 / 10 / 10

Mizoguchi's final film, and his final masterpiece

Mizoguchi's swan song is one of his best, personally my second favorite film after Life of Oharu. This is the story of a group of modern day prostitutes in the red light district of Tokyo. Their sad stories are basic melodramas, but they are deeply affecting nonetheless. One is working to support her sick husband and their baby; they had planned to kill themselves until she found out she was pregnant. One went into the business to support a son who now rejects disowns her as his mother. One gets out of the business by marrying, but finds that marriage is even more demeaning than prostitution. One particularly clever one is manipulating a businessman to buy her way out of the place. Another ran away from home with an American G.I. and has begun to mimic Western attitudes and dress, which is a good selling point. Machiko Kyo is the standout as Mickey, the Westernized girl. She has the single best scene, where her father comes looking for her to bring her home. It's a stock scene, really, but Mizoguchi and Machiko Kyo turn it in a direction that I really didn't expect. I was liking the film a lot before this scene without loving it, but this bit blew me away – I loved every second thereafter. Scene after powerful scene lead up to one of the most amazing final shots in a film ever. Throughout the film, we are informed that politicians are trying to outlaw prostitution. In the film, it keeps failing. Due to this film that bill was finally passed.

Reviewed by Quinoa1984 10 / 10 / 10

the uncertain, shaky music of the night

One thing that sticks out like a wonderful, strange thumb in Kenzi Mizoguchi's (unintentional) swan song is the musical score by Toshirô Mayuzumi. With the exception of a couple of scenes, like when one of the older women working at the Dreamland whorehouse is found on the street by another of the women as she has left her husband, the music is far from being the usual melodramatic simple strings and flutes or whatever. The music for Street of Shame is warped, twangy, accentuated by the the playing of that weird one string instrument (if you've heard Jack Nietzche's score for One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest you know what I mean), not supplying the emotional context but observing it, setting an unusual tone for scenes that go between melodrama and naturalistic acting. The music by Mayzumi is sad but not the way you'd think; it perfectly puts us in a world that should be the "other" but there's something familiar about it, which fits since these characters, all women servicing clientèle to pay off debts and support their families, are here because it's a job, nothing more. The film itself is conventionally structured in terms of the ensemble: several women including Mickey, Yumeko, Yasumi, go through the few ups and the many downs of being a prostitute in a city and country that is very mixed about it. It's legal, but there's rumblings on the radio about a vote coming up about whether to ban it for, basically, the reasons it's illegal here in the United States (not too oddly though, prostitution became illegal shortly after the film was released). Mizoguchi handles the social strata of this with tact and care. It's not something that needs to be turned into a message-story, because the women themselves are the message. He leaves it up to the audience on whether to decide on it; at the least he doesn't paint any characters to be total monsters or caricatures, which include the Man and Madam of the Dreamland house are down the line businesspeople, offering these women a way to pay off debts in an atmosphere that the government doesn't really care about, "that they just talk and make money". But in leaving it up to the audience, he offers up a very strong case for how prostitution does, in a realistic setting, disrupt and break up lives, and curse some to their respective fates. In one plot line a girl dupes a businessman by asking him to pay off her BIG debts (i.e. 150,000 yen) with the fooled intent of marrying him; another, Mickey, is the bright and chipper one until her father comes to call bringing a whole volcanic scene that at the end she replies "what is this, a movie?"; an older woman working there keeps trying to call her son, only for him to split ways with her due to the shame it's caused him (he goes a little over the top explaining "the whole world knows", but it still works in that scene on the street); and a young mother of a baby has to find ways to help her sickened husband to get by. On the surface, these stories don't seem like they would make for a tragic mosaic of existential circumstance. But this is what it is, a movie that features so much life that it ultimately is very heartbreaking to watch. The women are all strong but there's that weakness that is brought on by society's double-standard: it's not seen as something acceptable to go about working in this business, but what else will the women do to work? Some may get married, but at what cost? Mizoguchi's triumph is in making it something Japanese society can relate to and contemplate, but firstly it's about character, about them being three-dimensional: fragile very deep down but with a veneer that says "yeah, this is what I am, whadda ya want?" Most touching of all, with the music included, is at the end when the young new girl (a virgin) is put to her first night on the job, with her looking on in a daze and awe on a booming-business night. It's really remarkable work by a master of his craft.

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