(aka "Aru eiga-kantoku no shogai" or "Kenji Mizoguchi: The Life of a Film Director" )

directed by Kaneto Shindō
Japan 1974

Says Kaneto Shindo, "Mizoguchi was totally and utterly Japanese. He was unique in that he was not in any way influenced by the directors of the West. He preferred long takes, and managed to squeeze into that  one take all the trials and tribulations of life." Shindo's "The Life of a Film Director" concerns itself with the life and work  of Kenji  Mizoguchi. It is based around numerous interviews with people who knew Mizoguchi personally (both intimately  and professionally). The film was made in 1974, almost 20 years after Mizoguchi's 1956 death. The feature is rather unique as an historical document, in that it was  made at a time when several of those who had interacted with Mizoguchi  were still alive and able to tell about their experiences.  Throughout the film we are also shown stills and clips from Mizoguchi's films, as  well as  footage of Mizoguchi  himself. Mizoguchi is portrayed as privately a troubled man, but professionally a perfectionist who followed his artistic vision ruthlessly, unwilling to compromise.  As we know, people like Andrei Tarkovsky, Jean-Luc Godard, Pier  Paolo  Pasolini, Rainer Werner Fassbinder,  Theo Angelopoulos,  Jacques Rivette and Akira Kurosawa all hold the work of Mizoguchi in high esteem.  With  the  upcoming DVD releases of the oeuvre of Mizoguchi, his popularity should again be on the rise.  This documentary, while of no artistic value in itself (as a Shindo  film, it's a bit of a doozie!), is indeed highly recommended for those who wish to more closely look into the life and times of Kenji Mizoguchi.

Trond Trondsen

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DVD Review: Asmik Ace (Japan)  - Region 2 - NTSC

Big thanks to Trond Trondsen of Masters of Cinema.org for all the Screen Caps!

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Distribution Asmik Ace  Region 2 - NTSC
Runtime 2:29:40 
Video 1.33:1.00 Original Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: 6.50 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s


Audio Japanese (Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono) 
Subtitles English, Japanese, None

Release Information:
Studio: Asmik Ace (Japan) / Kindai Eiga Kyokai Ltd

Aspect Ratio:
Original Aspect Ratio - 1.33:1

DVD Release Date: September 10th, 2001
Keep Case
Chapters: 36

Edition Details:



The quality of the transfer used for this DVD is almost unbelievable. The 1974 16-mm footage shows not a single scratch, no dirt, no dust. Flesh tones are spot-on, and there are no compression artifacts whatsoever. Remarkable. out of

     Trond Trondsen


Trond wishes to thank Glynford Hatfield for lending him a copy of the DVD for this review.

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Distribution Asmik Ace  Region 2 - NTSC


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