A psychic housewife and her husband become burdened with a kidnapped girl who escaped her assailant. Junko will not let her husband call the hospital or the police for purely selfish ... See full summary »
A salt storehouse near the sea may be haunted. A penniless ex-con dies a gristly death in a house he can ill afford. The detectives assigned the case are Min, newly reinstated after a ... See full summary »
A psychic housewife and her husband become burdened with a kidnapped girl who escaped her assailant. Junko will not let her husband call the hospital or the police for purely selfish reasons. The girl dies while still in their house and her ghost begins to haunt not only Junko but also her husband, Sato (Koji Yakusho). Written by
There are two kinds of films in the world, my friends. Those in which it is easy to find a meaning (if possible, a moral one) and those which tell a story with such devices that you, spectator, are free to construe it. Seance is such a film. I for one do not see it as a horror or a crime movie. It has the required number of supernatural events, but what is far more frightening than that is the subtle psychological illness that affects the two hapless heroes, Junko and her husband. These two are completely hollow the husband filled with noises, the wife with ghosts indeed ; they very simply do not live on the same physical plane as other people (colleagues, patrons... and the young girl who gets trapped in the husband's case) and it takes two extremely gifted actors, Yakusho and Fubuki, to convey this hollowness, this muted remoteness, as they are conveyed here. Kurosawa does not make any redundant comment on that stupendous hollowness : he merely shows it ; that indeed is his job as a filmmaker. The result is, in my opinion, one of his best films, together with Bright Future and Doppelgaenger. For yes : the doppelgaenger variation which one or two of the other commentators find so irksome (unfairly so, in my opinion : the eager student who mentions the apparition of a doppelgaenger in someone's life as a sign of impending demise isn't right* ; in literature the thing has been plaguing many a cheerless Romantic and postromantic hero for years) is back in Kurosawa's latest full length feature, Doppelgaenger (there is a Japanese DVD with English subtitles). No important message in that wonderfully quirky, eerily violent comedy (Yakusho again plays the double part). Let us rejoice about that fact : as long as a film puzzles more than it scares, it will never be remade in Hollywood.
* And he shouldn't be believed any more than the misleading psychiatrist in Cure, should he ?
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