In Masahiro Shinoda’s striking adaptation of a bunraku puppet play (featuring the music of famed composer Toru Takemitsu), a paper merchant sacrifices family, fortune, and ultimately life for his erotic obsession with a prostitute.
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The film will be screened at BFI Southbank as part of Shinjuku Diaries: Films from the Art Theatre Guild season (1st - 31st Aug)
Screening on 29th introduced by Oliver Dew (Birkbeck College, University of London)
Quite frustrating how visually impressive and well executed this is that I didn't fully connect with it, 40% of it seems to be characters either crying or screeching, which irritated me as I didn't really care for them. I'm willing to give it another chance since I love Pale Flower. I know how great Shinoda can be.
Even as the sometimes maddening plot threatens to derail, the viewer is pulled back in by the lustrous shadows, brutal performances and nightmarish soundtrack by Toru Takemitsu. An uneven film, but confounding in the way that a dark dream is, and just as memorable.
Chikamatsu's 18th century Kabuki classic, re-told by Shinoda with abstract realism and a haunting poetic irony, blending stage theatrics and modernist set design with real world situations. Shinoda's most famous film, and a late landmark of the Japanese New Wave.