In a poor 19th century rural Japanese village, everyone who reaches the age of 70 has to climb a nearby mountain to die. An old woman is getting close to the cut-off age, and we follow her last days with her family.
An elder ronin samurai arrives at a feudal lord's home and requests an honorable place to commit suicide. But when the ronin inquires about a younger samurai who arrived before him things take an unexpected turn.
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
Visa de contrôle cinématographique France : #15760(subtitled version) or #15760/D (dubbed version). See more »
Brother, please don't be a traitor. This isn't you.
I know what I'm doing. What good will it do for you to serve Kyomori?
I don't know. Once you serve him though, he's your master forever. How can you betray him in his absence?
It's not cowardice. It's shrewd stratagy. I'm sorry to tell you Kiyomori won't be coming back.
How can a pack of mutts defeat the Taira Clan?
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Janus Films' re-subtitled version, prepared for video releases, translates Kazuo Hasegawa's name as "Cazuo Hasegawa." See more »
A samurai falls in love with a woman whose life he saves. He is offered a reward for his bravery, and he asks if he can be married to that woman. Unfortunately, she is already married and the samurai's request cannot be fulfilled. He is steadfast in his desire, and tries forcibly to take her from her husband. The elements of many cheap thrillers exist in that scenario. Gate of Hell doesn't do too much to distinguish itself, although it's certainly not a thriller. Basically, the whole film is an excuse for its admittedly great climactic sequence, where the samurai invades the home of the woman and her husband at night. I really like how this sequence ends, but there are some questions left unanswered - annoyingly so. The husband even asks them aloud, and there really isn't a satisfactory explanation. Other than that sequence, most of the rest of the film is kind of tedious. Fortunately, the absolutely beautiful cinematography - was this Japan's first film in color? - always manages to be impressive. The costume design actually won an Academy Award, a much deserved one, if I may say so myself. It also won an honorary Oscar for Best Foreign Film, the year before that category was made official. Furthermore, it was the first Japanese film to win the Palme D'Or at Cannes. 7/10.
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