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Film Series Closes with ‘Sansho’

The 30th annual Oklahoma City University Film Institute’s film series will conclude at 2 p.m. March 4 with Kenji Mizoguchi's “Sansho the Bailiff” in the Kerr McGee Auditorium of the Meinders School of Business. The school is located at N.W. 27th Street and McKinley Avenue.

Hailed by critics as one of the best films ever made, “Sansho the Bailiff” tells a compelling story of injustice and suffering made even more remarkable by its imagery. Mizoguchi photographs misty country sides in a visual poem of timeless beauty.

One film critic has commented that no director “has treated the supernatural with such delicacy and respect, with such subtle force of suggestion.” The haunting images create an atmosphere in which film comes as close as it can to the pity and terror of classic Greek tragedy.

The film tells the story of an idealistic governor who disobeys the reigning feudal lord. After he is cast into exile, his wife and children, who are left to fend for themselves, are eventually wrenched apart. Under Mizoguchi’s direction, the classic Japanese story has become one of cinema’s greatest masterpieces. It won the Venice Film Festival’s Golden Lion award.

The theme of this year’s series is “Compassion: The Radical Challenge.” It is based on Karin Armstrong’s book, “Twelve Steps to a Compassionate Life.” The book will be available at the film showing.

Harbour Winn, director of OCU’s Film Institute and a coordinator of the series, said the theme is intended “to bring to our attention the most recent book of the most acclaimed scholar of comparative religion in the West. Armstrong exhorts us to understand that even though faith has been exploited to justify horrific atrocities in the world, the fundamental idea in religion challenges us to understand that compassion is inseparable from humanity.”

Admission to all films in the series is free. The series is supported by the Thatcher Hoffman Smith Endowment Fund, the Kirkpatrick Family Fund and donations from the public.

For more information contact Winn at or (405) 208-5472.