Victory of Women (Josei no Shori)
Dir. Kenji Mizoguchi. 1946, 84 mins. 35mm print from the National Film Center (Tokyo). With Kinuyo Tanaka, Michiko Kuwano, Mitsuko Miura, Shin Tokudaiji. Working under the American Occupation government, which promoted certain democracy-promoting favored topics among Japanese filmmakers, Mizoguchi had the opportunity to deal with a topic nearer to his heart than wartime jingoism: women’s emancipation. A female lawyer, Hiroko (Kinuyo Tanaka), takes up the case of a recently widowed woman who killed her baby rather than raise it amid the endemic poverty and mercenary plundering of the postwar period. While fully engaged with the ambient despair of the time, Victory earns its affirmative title with a call-to-arms climax.
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