A late (1953) masterpiece by the preeminent Japanese director, Kenji Mizoguchi (its Japanese title translates as Gion Festival Music). Mizoguchi treats his perennial theme—woman and her problematical place in a society that both exploits and idealizes her—through a story of a young girl’s education as a geisha and her conflicts with an older sister. One of the few Mizoguchi films of the 50s with a contemporary setting, it is no less eternal in its mise-en-scene than Ugetsu or Sansho the Bailiff.