This most stylized work by Kinoshita is also his most dramatically theatrical, replete with meticulously designed soundstages and dramatic lighting. A haunting allegory that shows the conflict between filial duty, tradition and social pressure.
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Keisuke Kinoshita's breathtaking tale of the Japanese legend of Obasute, in which village elders must be taken to die atop Mount Narayama when they reach the age of 70, is a haunting exploration of strict adherence to tradition and the neverending cycle of mortality. Staged in the tradition of Kabuki theatre, the film is shot completely on sound stages, as if it were a filmed play, finding beauty in artifice.
As poignant and beautiful as the last 15 minutes were, I can't let go of the distraction the vocals became at certain points of the film. You don't drown out Kinuyo Tanaka's voice with moaning and wailing, regardless of the fidelity to the Japanese theatrical tradition.
Perhaps my favorite theatrical lighting design ever put to celluloid. A vivid hypnotizing nightmare which evolves into a deeply personal and touching tale of family dynamics. Uniquely constructed performances and striking action. With the heart of Kurosawa's Madadayo, subject matter akin to Ozu and a delivery similar to Kuroneko by Kindo, this film is a summation of all things bold in Japanese cinema. Blown away