Archive for May 2nd, 2009


by Allan Fish

(Japan 1964 104m) DVD1/2

Aka. The Hole 

Mask of the Black Sun

p  Hisao Itoya, Setsuo Noto, Tamotsu Minato  d/w  Kaneto Shindo  ph  Kiyomi Kuroda  ed  Toshio Enoki  m  Hikaru Hiyashi  art  S.Shindo

Nobuko Otawa (mother-in-law), Jitsuko Yoshimura (daughter-in-law), Kei Sato (Hachi), Jukichi Uno (samurai), Taiji Tonomura (Ushi),

I first saw Kaneto Shindo’s dark masterpiece back in the late nineties.  It was shown on Film Four with an introduction from William Friedkin which may have had something to do with the furore over the re-release at the time of The Exorcist in the UK.  Friedkin admirably described his feelings for the film, and referred to it as the most frightening film ever made.  Of course such an assertion is dependent on the viewer and wholly arbitrary, but one can see where he was coming from.  Onibaba is a film like no other, one of the very few in the cinema which can genuinely be called haunting.  Released in the same remarkable year that also saw Teshigahara’s Woman of the Dunes and Kobayashi’s Kwaidan, it may turn out to be the best of the three. (more…)

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