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Mostly Entertaining but not up to Ichikawa's Standards
It's so hard to find any of Kon Ichikawa's later films in this country that I wouldn't want to discourage anyone from watching The 8 Tomb Village, should the opportunity arise. Nevertheless I felt that it was sub-par for a director like Ichikawa whose mastery of the medium deserves a great deal more notice than it has received.
The Walt Disney influence definitely comes through in The 8 Tomb Village (as it does in Dora-Heita) and dominates the picture's aesthetic, particularly the mood. It also did not seem to be as sophisticated or complex as some of his other films like Enjo, Kagi, or even Watashi wa Ni-sei. This is not necessarily a bad thing, but since there is a twenty-five year gap in my familiarity with Ichikawa (from Tokyo Olympiad 'til now) perhaps there is something I'm missing. Also, I'm not sure that the transfer I saw (a dub of a Japanese DVD) was the greatest possible quality.
Nevertheless, Ichikawa's characters are typically quirky and a pleasure to watch as they inhabit their peculiar little world. A must for Ichikawa fans, but definitely not a place to start for those that are unfamiliar with this unknown (in the West) master.
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