Shuzenji Monogatari (The Mask and Destiny) is based on a 12th-century Japanese legend. An abortive royal romance leads to an escalating series of tragedies. The central character is a Japanese monarch who would prefer to live a humble existence as a maskmaker. Unfortunately, events -- and destiny -- are against him. When first released, Shuzenji Monogatari was held in far lower esteem than such recent Japanese films as Gate of Hell and Samurai. Nevertheless, the film was selected as an entry at the Venice Film Festival, possibly on the strength of its excellent production values.
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