7.3/10
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8 user 3 critic

Jigokuhen (1969)

A rebellious Korean artist tests the limits of his sadistic patron, an omnipotent feudal Japanese lord. Yoshihide demands a commission to paint screens of the Hell which he sees the ... See full summary »

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Cast

Credited cast:
Yôko Naitô ...
Yoshika
...
Yoshihide
Kinnosuke Nakamura ...
Lord Hosokawa
Shun Ôide
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Storyline

A rebellious Korean artist tests the limits of his sadistic patron, an omnipotent feudal Japanese lord. Yoshihide demands a commission to paint screens of the Hell which he sees the egotistical lord's peasants suffer. Such a public display will challenge the uncaring upper class' obsession with their own personal beauty. With Chinese and Buddhist influences at a peak in 11th century Japan, the daimyo Horikawa wanted a mural of Buddhist paradise. As Yoshihide's ghastly artworks appear to come to life, the painter and his patron's mutual racism also take their toll. Written by David Stevens

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based on novel | See All (1) »

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Drama

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Release Date:

18 November 1969 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Portrait of Hell  »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

(Westrex Recording System)

Color:

(Eastmancolor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The film references another short story by the author Ryunosuke Akutagawa (who wrote Jigokuhen). The scene where a man hits a women to steal the clothes she has taken from corpses is a reference to Rashomon. See more »

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User Reviews

 
Way over the top melodrama
30 June 2008 | by See all my reviews

Let me start off by saying I love Japanese cinema, literature and culture generally. I've seen many Japanese movies and enjoyed them, but "Portrait of Hell" (aka Jigokuhen) makes itself ridiculous. The two characters who dominate the action -- the "evil lord" in his privileged bubble and the "stubborn, crazy artist" are pure types with zero subtlety or nuance, and all their actions emanate from cartoonish extremes. The film wants to show horrible scenes of violence and raw emotion but many of these scenes are so over the top they actually become laughable and the overall feeling is that of a made-for-TV movie that went off the rails. If this rarely screened movie falls in your hands or comes to your town, spare yourself and give it a pass.


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