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Shozo | Keisuke Kinoshita, 1948
Japan | Format: 35mm | 77 minutes
Once again hoping to challenge himself to adapt to a different cinematic style, Kinoshita asked his good friend Akira Kurosawa to write a screenplay for him. The result was The Portrait, a work which today feels like an interesting combination of both artists. For years the mistress of a very successful real estate broker, a woman (beautifully played by Kuniko Igawa) agrees to sit for a portrait to be painted by a penniless artist. In rendering her, the artist paints a portrait that depicts the woman as pure and honest; overwhelmed by the image, and her reflections on her own past, the woman decides to end her unsavory relationship to the broker and attempt to start a new life. Kurosawa’s powerful moments of self-discovery, such a staple of his work, are rendered here by Kinoshita with a quiet intensity.