Two short stories set in Edo during the Shogun era. 1. During a time when Christians are persecuted vehemently, Iori falls in love with young Christian girl. When she and her family are ...
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In the center of a monotonous suburban existence, Sarah lives silently and in subservience to her icy husband Patrick. They have been together far too long, and Patrick's affections for his... See full summary »
Two short stories set in Edo during the Shogun era. 1. During a time when Christians are persecuted vehemently, Iori falls in love with young Christian girl. When she and her family are captured during a raid, his sadistic master takes her as her personal slave to torment him, and tries breaking her spirit by means of rape, torture and pure sadism. After Iori refuses to participate any longer he is exiled, but vows to get her back. 2. When Sutezo is forced to serve the cruel master of a brothel to repay his debts, he becomes friends with the young girl Sato. Together, they escape and try to get by on scams and theft. Written by
I found this to be more entertaining than I expected, which is probably due to the unexpectedly high production values. Very strange that an extreme film like this should have a decent budget. I should add that the first sequence is superior, since it is far more dramatically effective. The second segment is almost played for laughs, at times, which would almost seem unbelievable if you were unfamiliar with the extreme end of Japanese cinema. There is no end of gurning and pratfalling from the main protagonist (and others) in the latter part, as well as a few relatively comedic incidents - one involving a pit of human waste. You would almost expect this to be intended as light relief, to send the punters home somewhat less disturbed after the unremittingly bleak first story, and that is how this tale begins. The main man is punished for being unable to pay for his night of debauchery by being lightly humiliated and forced to work in the brothel. The previously mentioned dog-licking is up next, lulling the unprepared viewer into a false sense of security, as an extremely horrible abortion follows, involving a double whammy of stamping and kicking to the gut, followed by the archetypal old-crone-abortionist going in up to the elbow. This latter is accompanied by what sounds like the electronic equivalent of a swanee whistle on the soundtrack, but I don't think the similarity was intentional. Later on, this prostitute dies slowly, as a result, in a brilliantly effective sequence. She really does look pale and deathly, and the barbaric treatment and it's outcome are portrayed unflinchingly. This early death denies our cruel buddies some torture fun. This is not the case at all in the first half. The baddie of the piece is a nasty magistrate, played with OTT eye-bulging lunacy that veers wonderfully close to the edge of over acting. He gets to do all sorts of unspeakable acts to a succession of hapless christians, and the effect is bleak and cruel throughout. It is also quite tragic; well acted; and well filmed. Kudos also, to the soundtrack composer - there is some decent stuff on here, from the moog-out over the opening credits, to some very nice, more traditional soundtrack material later on. Not as gory as I expected, this is still fairly gruesome. The curious shouldn't be put off by the idea that there is unrelenting blood and guts churning away: it's the nastiness and cruelty that make this film exceptional, not the red stuff.
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