7.3/10
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Jigokuhen (1969)

A rebellious Korean artist tests the limits of his sadistic patron, an omnipotent feudal Japanese lord. Yoshihide demands a commission to paint screens of the Hell which he sees the ... See full summary »

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Cast

Credited cast:
Hideyo Amamoto
Yôko Naitô ...
Yoshika
...
Yoshihide
Kinnosuke Nakamura ...
Lord Hosokawa
Shun Ôide
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Storyline

A rebellious Korean artist tests the limits of his sadistic patron, an omnipotent feudal Japanese lord. Yoshihide demands a commission to paint screens of the Hell which he sees the egotistical lord's peasants suffer. Such a public display will challenge the uncaring upper class' obsession with their own personal beauty. With Chinese and Buddhist influences at a peak in 11th century Japan, the daimyo Horikawa wanted a mural of Buddhist paradise. As Yoshihide's ghastly artworks appear to come to life, the painter and his patron's mutual racism also take their toll. Written by David Stevens

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based on novel | See All (1) »

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Drama

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Release Date:

18 November 1969 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Portrait of Hell  »

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Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

(Westrex Recording System)

Color:

(Eastmancolor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Trivia

The film is based on the story 'Hell Screen' by the Japanese writer Akutagawa Ryunosuke. His work also inspired Rashomon. See more »

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User Reviews

 
kwaidan influenced story of racism and pride
21 August 2001 | by (Los Angeles) – See all my reviews

This filmed theatrical performance centers on the tension between a Japanese ruler and a Korean artist. The ruler a Buddhist who considers himself a living Buddha amidst the suffering of his people brought on by his indifference, the artist a Confucian whose pride has been trampled on so many times he comes to hate even his innocent Japanese student who courts his daughter. One of the many themes in this carefully told story includes the idea of individuality portrayed by a political rebel sporting an ogre's mask. The rebel and the Japanese art student, fueled by their individual power, storm the castle of the corrupt lord like demon's of hell. Although the wheel of karma turns, symbolized by the wheels on the lavish royal carriage, their is always personal choice. The artist chose to imprison his daughter,Yoshika, drive away his foreign protege, and dared the lord to burn the carriage holding his girl. The lord chose, to indulge in an egocentric project to have a painting of himself as an enlightened being, verbally and physically abusing the genius painter, ignore the Korean king's call for help during an invasion, hold the innocent daughter of the artist, and ordered the slaughter of Korean immigrant's as they tried to go home. We, the audience hope for a glance at the evolving masterpiece the artist is working on. The painting is at first inspired the the fear of a chained little boy who squirms at the sight of approaching snakes. Finally, the artist (Tatsuya Nakadai) realizes that the torment of damnation is within himself this whole time. The flames in the movie seem to melt the screen and the haunting flute song becomes the soul of this tragedy. All the actors and actresses perform this tale in a very traditional, super dramatic way. Every time the artist begs for the return of his daughter from the lord you can't help but feel heart broken. The film is a real treasure but slightly flawed due to the innapropriate soundtrak which would be more appropriate for a western epic. Masaki Kobayashi's Kwaidan clearly contributed to this film's lush and hyper real colors, textures and images. Do anything you can to view this work.


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