In the midst of epic, violent intrigue in twelfth-century Japan, an imperial warrior falls for a lady-in-waiting; after he discovers she is married, he becomes frenzied in his attempts to win her love.
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One of the most beautiful looking films ever made in terms of color photography, Gate Of Hell is still a sub-standard melodrama in terms of story. While post-WWII symbolism and context may loom over it, these literary qualities are unfulfilled thus making its heart not as affective outside of its vibrant and utterly titillating colors. The eye's in the right place, but the soul has to get in-sync.
Visually speaking, Gate of Hell was a marvel by 50s or today's standards. The brief shot where a lantern was being lit just past sunset was easily one of the most beautiful things I've ever seen on film. From a storytelling standpoint I didn't love it. Watching a seemingly solid guy turn into an idiot over a woman is never a pleasant thing to watch but the story's resolution and the final shot made this worth it.
The beginning is so misleading, the way it tricks you into thinking this is a cheesy historical epic and then it just does a complete 180. This rivals, and maybe even trumps some of the other great psychological dramas of the era. The way Kinugasa frames each shot and his use of color was quite revolutionary, although at times a bit excessive. I enjoyed this one, but I didn't love it.
Colorful and SHARP; The cinematography is a marvel for its time. However, it is the balance, or rather the dance, between the plot and character driven script that most interests me about this film. An intriguing platform for creating a moral structure within the film, instead of accepting a set compass. All three characters are given contradicting and lively points of view, leading to a powerful contradiction.
Une oeuvre magistrale, d'une splendeur picturale éblouissante (utilisation du fameux procédé "eastman color") et d'une profonde véracité psychologique qui fut récompensée, entre autres, par les deux plus hautes distinctions du milieu cinéma, la Palme d'Or cannoise et l'Oscar du Meilleur Film Etranger... www.cinefiches.com
A curious, strange film - I'd like to know a little more about it, as it shifts in tone quite a lot at the start from apparent war drama to apparent romance, before it sets on being about perverse male desire and power-play, in a love triangle. Beautiful use of colour and misty settings. May be political allegory, or may be based on how some samurais actually behaved. Then again it may just be a yarn!