An extraordinarily bizarre period film about physician Hanaoka Seishu, the first doctor to use general anesthetic. Hanaoka is so completely immersed in his work that he has little time for the two women in his life, his mother and long suffering wife. Vying for his attention, the two women offer themselves as guinea pigs for his surgical trials. Choosing to focus on the wife rather than the surgeon, Masumura asks us who is the more heroic here, the self-obsessed doctor or his loving wife. A vertiginous study in obsession, amour fou and monomania. —cromer-movieflex
A singularly contradictory figure in Japanese cinema, Yasuzo Masumura directed 58 features between 1957 and 1982. He was trained by and worked for a handful of recognized cinematic masters, but chose to work for the most part in the less reputable world of B-movies. Virtually all of his films were made within the commercial film industry but they display a fierce personal vision imbued with a fascination with madness and a passion for the extremes of human behavior.
Born in 1924, Masumura earned an undergraduate degree in Law from Tokyo University near the end of World War II. He returned to college after the war for another degree in Literature and Philosophy while working as an assistant director at Daiei Studios. (Novelist Yukio Mishima was one of his classmates, and later had a starring role in his gangster thriller Afraid to Die). After graduating in 1949 with a thesis on Kierkegaard, he became the first Japanese student ever accepted to the prestigious Centro Sperimentale… read more