Tale of Genji, The
“The Tale of Genji” (1987) is a 107-minute movie based on the first part of the “first novel”, the 11th Century classic by Murasaki Shikibu. It was directed by Gisaburo Sugii ( “Night on the Galactic Railroad”, “A Tree in the Sun”, “Street Fighter II: the Movie”, “SF:II-V” )
“You do not know how many girls who hear your name blush and get excited.”
Hikaru Genji, the illegitimate, second son of the Emperor, is a man adept at archery, learned in poetry, knowledgeable in medicine, and skilled at dance. A virtual enigma and stranger to his wife, Lady Aoi, Genji is a roué who can attract, entice, and bed any beautiful woman at court; from his father’s new bride, Empress Fujitsubo, to the older disgraced concubine, Lady Miyasudokoro; with his beauty, grace, and charisma.
“And love confused the men of old who traveled this new and strange road.”
Still, Genji lives a troubled existence as he unconsciously searches for reflections of his mother, who died when he was very young, in each of his sexual conquests. His wife is killed by the curses of a jealous lover. And, when he is discovered in flagrante with the sixth Kokiden Princess, Oborozukiyo, his enemies and rivals at Court finally get the opportunity to get at him, and he is cast out of Kyoto and exiled to Suma. In order to secure his assets in the Capital, he leaves everything behind in the care of his self-raised child “bride”, Lady Murasaki, to start anew.
An almost unbelievably pretty Anime. I’m almost certain that this movie was more about animating flowing hair and patterned fabric than telling a story. The film’s stylized look of solid color skies and a deep red sun give it a sense of other-worldliness, or magical realism, as it moves forward at a slow, elegiac pace, putting the viewer in a half-asleep dreamlike trance.
“Let us vanish forever into the dream we dream tonight.”