7.3/10
240
9 user 3 critic

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:
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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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

 
The title says it all
12 May 2006 | by (NYC) – See all my reviews

A title that the film delivers the goods. Not the Hell of western imagination but the Hell of Buddhist thought. This is a tough film that really stick in the mind long after it's over.

Nakadai plays a Korean court artist to a ridiculous Japanese Lord who is blind to the growing poverty of his domain. The Lord wants a mural of Buddhist paradise but the artist doesn't know what that looks like. He can only paint death and misery. The artist himself is no great example of humanity as he's a full blown bigot. Caught in the middle is the artist's daughter and her innocent Japanese lover.

This film would not be possible without Nakadai who uses his ability to portray deep despair to it's fullest here. At points he looks like his character in "Ran" almost exactly. The points covered here include vanity, racism, pride, and other human traits that create a hell on earth. There's no happy ending here so be warned.

Wonderful sets and a theatrical style of lighting create an atmosphere unlike most other films. Recommended


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