The Crucified Lovers

Director: Kenji Mizoguchi
Year Released: 1954
Rating: 3.0

"Master Printer" Ishun (Eitarō Shindō) - who has a monopoly on making calendars - accuses his wife Osan (Kyōko Kagawa) and talented assistant Mohei (Kazuo Hasegawa) of having an affair (which they aren't), so they run away from him to avoid being "crucified" in public for the sin of adultery (which is very ... un-Christian of them).  There are a few too many 'coincidences' to keep the plot going - Mohei just so happens to be spotted forging a document (and extorted), he reveals at just the right moment he actually is in love with Osan, a chestnut merchant spots them when they're trying to escape and reports their whereabouts, etc. - but Mizoguchi is capable of taking what's essentially a play for puppets and makes it fully human, with Osan and Mohei willing to die for each other and Ishun experiencing a Pyrrhic victory.  It's kind of odd how the simple act of stealing a stamp can lead to actual death ... but this era of Japanese history was probably not ideal for individual rights or freedom.