Many a director has pondered what happens to the female identity when a male-dominated society is in place. Watching Kenji Mizoguchi's The Life of Oharu reminded me of various other films I had watched that delve into this territory: Pandora's Box, Camille Claudel, Raise the Red Lanterns, and Ingmar Bergman's Persona. Both Bergman and Mizoguchi were considered feminist directors, perhaps because they focused on the state of a woman's identity when ruled by men who appear to have no power.
The difference is that Mizoguchi focuses on the external consequences while Bergman works with internal. The Life of Oharu is about a woman repeatedly exiled from society due to society disregarding that she has the notion of choice. Persona is about the fragmented female identity, split in two due to warring aspects. Mizoguchi reveals that this golden Edo period is only an illusion and not truly an honor-bound society. Bergman reveals that anyone, regardless of gender, views their life as a film and constructs illusions to suit that.
( You do not do, you do not do )