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Sansho the Bailiff

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Original title
Sansho Dayu (Sansho the Bailiff)aka
  • Legend of Bailiff Sansho
  • The Bailiff
Running time
123 min.
Japan Japan
Yoshikata Yoda, Yahiro Fuji
Fumio Hayasaka
Kazuo Miyagawa (B&W)
, , , , , , ,
Daiei Studios
Drama | Feudal Japan. 12th Century. Slavery
Synopsis / Plot
'Sansho Dayu' reaches back to a Japanese folk tale of the 12th century to depict the barbarism of a dark age, when people didn't know how to be human. When a provincial governor's attempts to protect the rights of regional farmers clash with the goals of the feudal regime, he's sent into exile, and forced to leave his family behind. A few years later his wife and children begin a long journey to reunite with him, only to be waylaid be kidnappers. The bandits sell the mother to a brothel on an isolated island and the children to corrupt official Sansho as slaves. As the years pass, the daughter lapses into passivity while the son becomes hardened by the brutality that has become their lot. One day, while escorting a dying slave outside the confines of their camp, they plan an escape.
1954: Venice Film Festival: Silver Lion - Best Director.
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