As Serpent’s Path opens we see two men, named Nijima (Shô Aikawa) and Miyashita (Teruyuki Kagawa), drive their car to an abandoned warehouse on the edge of town. Out of the trunk they drag a man, who they take with them into the building and chain to a wall. Miyashita is out for revenge against the killers of his eight-year old daughter. Nijima, a schoolteacher by trade, is helping him, though exactly why and how these two men decided to team up remains unclear. They proceed to subtly torment their victim, a low-level yakuza, into a confession. Miyashita, himself a former yakuza, is grief stricken and about to lose his sanity altogether. He laments over a perpetually looping extract of home video footage of his daughter, which is played on a tv set in front of their captive. Nijima on the other hand is calm and collected, his detached air of professionalism keeping Miyashita’s smouldering rage at bay. But the confession they hope for doesn’t come. Instead they get the name of another possible culprit who ends up in the same situation. He in turn gives them the name of another and pretty soon the two avengers find themselves in more trouble than they bargained for and nowhere nearer the identity of the actual murderer. —Midnight Eye
Born in Kobe on July 19, 1955, Kiyoshi Kurosawa is not related to director Akira Kurosawa. After studying at Rikkyo University in Tokyo under the guide of prominent film critic Shigehiko Hasumi, where he began making 8mm films, Kurosawa began directing commercially in the 1980s, working on pink films and low-budget V-Cinema (direct-to-video) productions such as formula yakuza pictures. In the early 1990s, he won a scholarship to the Sundance Institute and was able to study filmmaking in the United States, although he had been directing for nearly ten years professionally.
Kurosawa first achieved international acclaim with his serial killer film Kyua (Cure) (1997). Also that year, Kurosawa experimented by filming two thrillers back-to-back, Serpent’s Path and Eyes of the Spider, both of which shared the same premise (a father taking revenge for his child’s murder) and lead actor (Show Aikawa) but spun entirely different stories.
Kurosawa followed up Cure with a semi-sequel… read more