Shindo's directorial debut is the fictionalized account of the death of his first wife. Following the breakout of the Pacific War, the Japanese film industry was forcibly downsized. ... See full summary »
It is often said that comedy is the most untranslatable element from culture to culture. This is perhaps even more the case with surreal mixed genre films like this. In Shindo Kaneto's film (his 101st!) the old sensei has given us a strange meditation on male lusts and women's struggle for independence. It is like a play in that the action takes place almost exclusively in a small cabin in a deserted region of Western Japan. A mother and daughter are stranded in a ghost town and are starving to death. They hit on a plan to get them out of their plight which involves exploiting the few men who stray into their cabin. They offer sexual services and then bump off the happy customers. All goes well until a local cop shows up and, then, a relation of theirs from way back.
The first part of the film may seem a little repetitive. Audiences may feel a little trapped - perhaps intentionally so - in this cabin with the two crazy leads (both well known actresses in Japan who throw themselves into their roles). Basically this is sly satire on how easily men are duped when sex is promised. At times it plays almost like an Ealing Comedy, at other times like a violent farce. The film does pay off in the end but, in a way, one is still left with the feeling that this film would be even funnier for those really inside Japanese culture.
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