Fans of the wonderful Meiko Kaji will not even recognize her as an emotional prostitute who is in love with a penniless merchant. Most fans know Kaji as the quiet, brooding female assassin from the Lady Snowblood series, or the Female Scorpion films. There she barely uttered a word. In this film, she is a delicate, idealistic woman who actually vocalizes her emotions! Kaji really does have range as an actress, and fans of hers should see "Double Suicide of Sonezaki. But some might be disappointed at how melodramatic it is, or with the lack of nudity or eroticism, as director Yasuzo Masumura is known for. Fans of his work such as "Blind Beast" might be dismayed to see that none of the exploitative qualities of those pink films is evident here. It is certainly pretty to look at, however, with a special attention to bright colors..especially of the kaleidescope patterns of the prostitute's kimonos. they are almost hallucinogenic in their colorful splendor. The prostitutes look like exotic flowers! And Meiko Kaji is very beautiful in this film as well. it's hard to take your eyes off her, as another reviewer commented. Filmed with a purposely overly melodramatic style, it feels like theater. and it works for this production. The two lovers are willing to sacrifice anything to be together; even their very lives. This is similar to Oshima's "In the Realm of the Senses" in that way, however the bond of these lovers is not based on animalistic sexuality, but on a more spiritual, and idealized love. Picture "Romeo & Juliet," with Samurai swords and kimonos. Judging by the look of the production, and the aspect ratio it was filmed in, I would guess it was filmed for Japanese television. Worth a look, but you might have to go out of your way to find this obscure film..it's obscure for a reason. It is very Eastern in it's style. Recommended to those looking for something different, and who want to see the iconic Kaji Meiko in a very different kind of role.
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