Archive for July 11th, 2014

by Shubhajit Lahiri

Woman of the Lake, directed by Yoshishige Yoshida, aka Kiju Yoshida, one of the most influential members and great intellectuals of the Japanese New Wave movement, was a lyrical, disquieting and beautifully shot meditation on urban alienation, existential crisis, marital fidelity, and the complex dynamics of love and lust. This was the 2nd film in the director’s thematically & stylistically connected series of 6 films, made right after his parting ways with Shochiku Studio, which has been loosely qualified as “Anti-Melodramas”. All were shot in B/W (except for one), starred his glorious wife-cum-muse Okada, and fabulously deconstructed the melodrama form of filmmaking by imbuing them with a dark, edgy, layered, psychologically dense, thematically rich and stylistically dazzling signature.

It was preceded by A Story Written with Water(a troubling account of mother-son relationship with all its repressed desires and associated guilt), and was followed by The Affair/Joen(a bravura and powerful examination of a mother’s memory on her daughter and how it shapes her relationship with men – possibly the best film of the lot along with the one under focus), Flame & Women(an incisive probe into psychological questions and moral dilemmas through the topic of artificial insemination), Affair in the Snow (portrayal of the dichotomy and irony of choosing between sexual prowess and emotional connect, and a complementary and companion piece to Woman of the Lake) and Farewell to Summer Light (a lilting take on questions of memory and ephemerality of relationships that is sure to remind one of Linklater’s “Before Trilogy”, and the only one shot in colour). (more…)

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