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Sunday, July 9, 2017

Yukinojo Henge (aka An Actor's Revenge) (1963)

A male actor (Kazuo Hasegawa) who does female roles in Kabuki theater recognizes the three men (Ganjiro Nakamura, Saburo Date, Eijiro Yanagi) responsible for the ruination and death of his parents in the audience one night. Thus begins a complicated plot of revenge that will also destroy the innocent. Directed by Kon Ichikawa (FIRES ON THE PLAIN), this is a remake of a 1935 film that also starred Hasegawa. This is a fascinating stylized melodrama with a bravura performance by Hasegawa (who also plays the commenting thief). Ichikawa balances the sumptuous visuals with the narrative which is also a balancing act of sorts. There is great tragedy but also generous doses of humor, notably Fujiko Yamamoto's man hating lady bandit. Hasegawa's male actress stays in feminine mode even off stage which makes some of the romantic scenes between he and Ayako Wakao's love smitten concubine mesmerizing in its gender bending possibilities. Also known as REVENGE OF A KABUKI ACTOR. With Raizo Ichikawa and Shintaro Katsu.

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