Donald Kurihara's book Patterns of Time: Mizoguchi and the 1930s has some interesting insights on one of Japan's greatest film directors. However, much of the book is marred by academese jargon and a turgid style especially the first five chapters (1. An Unhurried Gaze, 2. A Zig-Zag Career, 3. Traditions and Backgrounds, 4. The International Film Culture of Japan, 5. Modernizing Traditions) that set up the discussions of the four films from the 1930s (The Downfall of Osen (1935), Osaka Elegy (1936), Sisters of the Gion (1936), The Story of the Last Chrysanthemum (1939)) that Kurihara focuses on. Of the four, The Downfall of Osen, was the only film that I had to set aside time to watch because I hadn't seen it. It's not considered a major Mizoguchi film, but I think Kurihara makes some interesting observations about the film and it's importance to the overall oevre of Mizoguchi. The film is noted for it's complex flashback narrative as well as it's melodramatic shimpa influenced story. Osaka Elegy is often singled out due to the fact it was the first film to made with characters speaking in the Kansai dialect in a film, but Kurihara also points out that aside from the social and political elements in the story the film is notable for the "density" of the film where the feeling of solidity is produced by the careful packing of a limited variety of elements into particular structures and patterns. Sisters of the Gion is yet another Mizoguchi film that looks at the lives of women working at the mercy of men's whims. Kurihara points out that Mizoguchi added a complex formalism to this films using parallelism between the two sisters as well as incorporating the dynamics of the along take in the film. The Story of the Last Chrysanthemum is generally seen as the film in which Mizoguchi develops the one shot long take that characterizes the cinematic style of the 1950s in which his films become known worldwide. Kurihara is excellent when he discusses each of these films in the final four chapters, but getting there was a bit of a chore for me.