It's easy to make really general comments about a film like this. The fact that it's one of the only remaining Japanese films from this era causes people to say that it "started Japanese cinema" and was "unlike anything the west ever made." The latter of these two comments is particularly false as Kinugasa himself admitted to ripping off "Caligari" on more than one occasion. But style was meant to be imitated, and doesn't take away from this film's importance. What we have here is experimental themes and composition built on already established visual styles, opening the doors for a truly brilliant layering of narratives and realities. For this purpose, the madhouse is the ideal setting, and the writers knew this. This is a landmark film, and every effort should be made to track it down.
5 out of 5 - Essential
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