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Sunday, July 22, 2012

Onibaba (1964)

Set around the fourteenth century in Japan while feudal wars rage, a woman (Nobuko Otowa) and her daughter in law (Jitsuko Yoshimura) struggle to survive by killing samurai and selling their armor while awaiting the return of the son and husband. When a neighbor (Kei Sato) returns home after abandoning the war, he tells them the son and husband is dead but sets his eyes on the man's widow. Beautifully shot in black and white scope by Kiyomi Kuroda with strong direction from Kaneto Shindo, Shindo provides a sinister ambience throughout with tall and wavering grass used to great effect as well as wind and shadows and Hikaru Hayashi's unsettling underscore. I'm not sure one could accurately call it a horror film but it certainly feels like one as the film progresses to its grim conclusion. The film has images that stay with you long after the film is over.

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