A mother and daughter living alone in a small village in deep Japan manage to get out of poverty seducing men, who offer their sexual services and then poisoned with a drink similar to sake.

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Cast

Credited cast:
Akira Emoto
Daijirô Harada
Mansaku Ikeuchi
Naomasa Musaka
Tomorowo Taguchi
Shinobu Ôtake
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Storyline

Taking up the argument of 'Onibaba' (1964), the nonagenarian Director Kaneto Shindo places the action in the eighties: a mother and her daughter are mired in the deepest misery, eating only pine roots. To get out of poverty both shall exercise at home as geisha, but at the same time they will poison men who go parading around to take their money. The mechanism used is always the same: as a gift to the victim, they offered a glass of sake that, once ingested, makes them foam at the mouth uttering animal howls and dying in convulsions. Written by jsanchez

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Comedy | Drama

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22 June 2003 (Russia)  »

Also Known As:

El búho  »

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User Reviews

enjoyably twisted tale of female predation
14 October 2003 | by (sydney, Australia) – See all my reviews

The Owl

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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