Archive for September 17th, 2010

(James Whale, 1935)

(essay by Troy)

A landmark horror film, Bride of Frankenstein is universally praised as one of the greatest horror movies ever made, the elite class of the Universal monster films.  Emotionally resonate, comically satirical, and replete with expressionistic artistry and Gothic atmosphere, it’s a film that I had always appreciated for its historical importance, but until recently, had not given it the full credit for the masterpiece it truly is. (more…)

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by Allan Fish

(Japan 1964 96m) DVD1/2

Aka. Passion

Would you die with me?

p  Yonejiro Saito  d  Yasuzo Masumura  w  Kaneto Shindo  novel  Jin’ichiro Tanizaki  ph  Setsuo Kobayashi  ed  Tatsuji Kokashizu  m  Tadashi Yamauchi  art  Tomoo Shimogawara

Ayako Wakao (Mitsuko Tokumitsu), Kyoko Kishida (Sonoko Kakiuchi), Yusuko Kawazu (Eijiro Watanuki), Eiji Funakoshi (Kotaro Kakiuchi), Kyu Sazanka (principal), Ken Mitsuda (novelist),

One of the pinnacles of the Japanese exploitation genre, Yasuzo Masumura’s Manji surely qualifies as one of the great hothouse melodramas of all time.  It’s simple in its narrative, labyrinthine in its psychology, deeply disturbing in its sexuality and downright perverse in its character motivation.  There’s something about Manji that sucks you in every time you see it, every time you hear the first strings of Yamauchi’s haunting score, akin to sticking pins into your bloodstream.

            Sonoko Kakiuchi is married to a man, Kotaro, who may love her, but for whom she has nothing but contempt.  She spends her days going to adult classes at school, in particular art classes, where she spends time drawing nude female models.  While there she develops an attraction, nay obsession, with another woman there, the young and beautiful Mitsuko Tokumitsu, who she instantly seems to think of as some kind of a Buddhist goddess.  When Mitsuko agrees to pose for Sonoko, they are drawn into a powerful love affair that seems all-consuming, with Sonoko acting frankly odiously to her husband and devoting everything to Mitsuko.  Then that proverbial spanner is put into the works; Mitsuko has a fiancé, who she won’t desert but whom she won’t leave Sonoko for.  She wants her cake as well as eating it. (more…)

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