Utamaro And His Five Women (1946) is a film directed by celebrated Japanese director Kenji Mizoguchi. This is a Portuguese DVD version that has English subtitles, and admittedly it is considered a "minor" work from one of Japan's cinematic masters, but you would think Criterion would bring out a new transfer. The opening sequence has a great scene in which the camera tracks down a long procession of people at a 45 degree angle, so each person is seen in a rounded, profile view. Joan Mellen in her book, Waves At Genji's Door, suggests that this image of slowly walking women slowed by their dress and "geta" (traditional wood shoes) implies the subjugation of women. She may have a point since most of the women are prostitutes in the film--the ukiyo-e artist Umataro's most famous subject. Umataro in the film is presented as a anti-feudal, anti-traditionalist obsessed with art and happily living among the "common people." It is the story of an artist whose passion inhabits his art instead of his life, while the opposite is seen with one of his disciples who absconds with one of the beloved models, Oran, and stops painting. Umataro's anit-feudal and traditional aspects are seen when he refuses a duel and challenges the man to an art contest to show that he lives a code that is unlike that of the oppressor the shogunate, who considers banishing him before deciding on a 50 day house arrest where his hands are bound so that he cannot create. It is almost too much for him and once freed there is a collage of Umataro's greatest prints at the closing. It seems that Mizoguchi had less funding that prevented him from using a crane to do his trademark aerial tracking shots and it was made under scrutiny by the Occupational censor who didn't want films espousing the glories of the past in post war Japan.