Manji, Masumura Yasuzo, 1968
'Manji' is a film worth seeing. Written by Shindo Kaneto (of 'Onibaba' fame) and based on a novel by Tanizaki (of 'Some Prefer Nettles' fame), the story chronicles the decent/ascent of the unhappily married woman, Sonoko, into an obsessive/liberating relationship with another woman, Mitsuko, associated throughout the film with the goddess of mercy. While all of the main characters' emotions run high, placing 'Manji' firmly in the genre of melodrama, the emotional intensity is always tempered with an element of sly humor. Both Sonoko and Mitsuko have complex motivations, and each is keenly aware of the machinations of the other, ensuring that the story is about passion, weakness, and love, and not about unexamined emotions and victimization.