Utamaro and His Five Women

Director: Kenji Mizoguchi
Year Released: 1946
Rating: 2.0

Seinosuke (Kōtarō Bandō) of the Kano School of Art is absolutely livid when he sees a woodcut print by famous painter Kitagawa Utamaro (Minosuke Bandō) mocking his institution, instead of a duel they have a Paint Off to see who's more talented, Seinosuke loses and he becomes his pupil; later, Utamaro's experiencing a bit of creative stagnation, so his colleagues arrange for him to closely examine a bunch of "bathing girls" to get the juices flowing once again.  I think it fares better when getting philosophical about the process of making art and leading that kind of lifestyle ("Women don't owe me anything simply because I draw them") than what it's doing the rest of the time, which is following around bitter and jealous fiancées weeping endlessly over the men who abandoned them.  It's a smidge too stagey and formal for me, although I am intrigued by the historical aspects to it: for example, during the Edo period did they actually handcuff artists they didn't like for 50 days?  Talk about cruel and unusual punishment....