Ojô Okichi (Miss Okichi). 1935. Japan. Directed by Tatsunosuke Takashima. In Japanese; English subtitles. 64 min.
Screenplay by Matsutaro Kawaguchi. With Isuzu Yamada, Yoko Umemura, Komako Hara. Kenji Mizoguchi is credited as “supervisor” on this rare Japanese genre film, which stars the stunning Isuzu Yamada (Osaka Elegy, Throne of Blood) as a professional criminal, part con woman and part martial artist, who falls in love with a young man from the straight world. Scholars have debated the extent of Mizoguchi’s contribution to the film; for David Bordwell, it has “some typically Mizoguchian scenes that dwell on chiaroscuro melancholy.” That, and an elaborately choreographed fight sequence that seems to anticipate Toshiya Fujita’s cult favorite Lady Snowblood. Preserved by the National Film Center, The National Museum of Modern Art, Tokyo, courtesy of Shochiku Co., Ltd. Special thanks to Alexander Jacoby and Johan Nordstrom.