The story concerns the romance between Carmela and Antonio. The ardor is one-sided at first, but Carmela is a determined young woman, willing to scale and conquer any obstacle in pursuing ... See full summary »
In 1160, in the Heian Period, Lord Kiyomori travels with his court to another feud and his Castle Sanjo is invaded by two other lords, in a coup. The loyal samurai Moritoh Enda asks the court lady Kesa to pose of the lord's sister to create a diversion while the lord's real sister and his father flee in the middle of the people. Then Moritoh travels to meet Lord Kiyomon and fights with him to defeat the enemies and the coup fails. Lord Kiyomon rewards the warriors that helped him and when he asks Moritoh what he wishes, he requests to marry Kesa. The lord grants his wish but soon he learns that Kesa is married with Wataru Watanabe, a samurai from the imperial guard. Moritoh harasses Kesa and threatens her, promising to kill her husband, her aunt and her if she does not marry him. Kesa's decision leads the trio to a tragic fate.Written by
Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
'Gate of Hell' is a story about loyalties. All those who transgress their loyalties, and are beaten or unmasked, are sent to 'Hell' through its 'Gate'. In this movie, the loyalty operates at the social (clan) as well as at the personal level. Rival subjects of the emperor break loyalties by fighting each other for a privileged position at the court. On the other hand, unrestrained passion and sexual harassment of wives of other clan members are also considered as an unacceptable conduct. One of the participants of the yearly 'ceremony of conciliation' among the clans is simply thrown out of the ceremony for his aggressive behavior. Finally, there is also the loyalty of a wife to her husband.
Teinosuke Kinugasa's movie shines through its magical mix of color and light, with dark scenes for unrestrained passion and light ones for beauty and self-sacrifice: every frame of every shot is simply a formidable Japanese print. It shines also through the masterful directing and the restraint acting of its main female character. Ultimately, it shines through its treatment of such almighty important themes as the battle between 'good and evil' / 'war and peace' resulting in 'life or death' for its protagonists.
While Carl Theodor Dreyer's 'The Passion of Joan of Arc' was a pioneering feature film because of its camera movements and bold focalizing, while Dziga Vertov's 'Man with a Movie Camera' was a pioneering movie because of its brilliant shooting angles, its split screens and its rhythmic 'one by one frame' editing, Teinosuke Kinugasa's 'Gate of Hell' is a pioneering movie because of his magnificent play with light and color, turning it into a grandiose spectacle. He shot an eternal masterpiece. A must see.
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