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Irezumi (1966)

 |  Drama  |  15 January 1966 (Japan)
7.3
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Ratings: 7.3/10 from 442 users  
Reviews: 5 user | 9 critic

A mysterious tattoo artist puts his masterpiece, a human-faced spider, on a kidnapped woman's back. She and her lover are then forced into a conspiracy-born nightmare, where they face the ... See full summary »

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Title: Irezumi (1966)

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Cast

Credited cast:
Ayako Wakao ...
Otsuya
Akio Hasegawa ...
Shinsuke
Gaku Yamamoto ...
Tattoo artist Seikichi
Kei Satô ...
Hatamoto Serizawa
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Jun Fujikawa
Reiko Fujiwara ...
Otaki
Tadashi Iwata
Gen Kimura
Kazuo Moriuchi
Kikue Môri ...
Shinsuke's mother
Shôzô Nanbu
Fujio Suga ...
Kenji
Kimiko Tachibana
Asao Uchida ...
Tokubei
Edit

Storyline

A mysterious tattoo artist puts his masterpiece, a human-faced spider, on a kidnapped woman's back. She and her lover are then forced into a conspiracy-born nightmare, where they face the danger of becoming the very evil they seek to escape. With each new bloody incident, the spider's face seems to redden with ever-growing hunger... Written by MichelleYeohFan

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Drama

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Release Date:

15 January 1966 (Japan)  »

Also Known As:

Tatouage  »

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Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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User Reviews

 
A spider web of seduction and deceit
20 April 2009 | by (Greece) – See all my reviews

Following the doomed and star-crossed love between the feisty daughter of a wealthy merchant and the timid clerk that works for her father, IREZUMI is cut from the mould of classic Shakespearean tragedy but with a distinctly Japanese spin. For reasons that elude me, the Japanese have taken quite an affection to their idea of the deceitful femme fatale, the "spider woman". Here the feisty daughter becomes one quite literally by having a grotesque "spider woman" tattooed by force on her back on orders of the pimp she's sold to. While her lover prowls the red districts of Yoshiwara looking for her, she leads a luxurious life as a geisha by scamming people off their money with her pimp as an accomplice.

Weaving together a typical revenge plot and the idea of psychosomatic auto-suggestion as the woman starts to believe that she's "really" a spider woman after being tattooed and urged by her pimp to leech money off her clients, director Masumura and writer Kaneto Shindo (who also scripted MANJI for Masumura and directed some very famous Japanese horror movies like ONIBABA and KURONEKO) create in IREZUMI a bold, beautiful, no-nonsense revenge drama that doesn't skimp on the violence. When people get killed, it's ugly and messy. When they don't, they weave around them webs of lies and deceit or find themselves caught in one.

Masumura's assured but laconic direction (no tracking shots, no moving cameras - his camera remains locked on a tripod with the occasional imperceptible pan) is a masterclass in miss-en-scene, careful framing and pacing a movie without calling attention to his work as director. Simply put, the guy knows how to take a great shot and he knows how to pile great shots one upon the other to make a great scene and he knows how to orchestrate his scenes to make a great movie that moves effortlessly from start to finish. Add to that the superb editing and some great acting by Ayako Wakao (gorgeous in the lead role) and you've got yourself a proper forgotten gem from the classic epoch of Japanese cinema. I'm looking forward to catching more of the director's work.


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