Street of Shame
Akasen Chitai [Red Light District, aka Street of Shame] sadly, the very last film by Kenji Mizoguchi (Sansho Dayu, Ugetsu Monogatari) presents a vivid portrait of prostitution in 1950s Japan. In a Tokyo brothel named Dreamland an obvious irony given the faded hopes of those who work there the lives of five prostitutes intersect. Each has a very different story for how they entered the profession, but what they share is the struggle to make sense of the red light district and its cycle of exploitation. Filmed shortly before the Japanese government's introduction of an anti-prostitution bill, Akasen Chitai is a compelling study of women torn between financial necessity and questions of conscience.