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Double Suicide (1969)

Shinjû: Ten no Amijima (original title)
Not Rated | | Drama | 11 February 1970 (USA)
A doomed love between a paper merchant and a courtesan.

Director:

Masahiro Shinoda
Reviews
7 wins. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Kichiemon Nakamura ... Jihei
Shima Iwashita ... Koharu / Osan
Shizue Kawarazaki Shizue Kawarazaki ... Osan's Mother
Tokie Hidari Tokie Hidari ... Osugi
Sumiko Hidaka Sumiko Hidaka ... Proprietress
Yûsuke Takita Yûsuke Takita ... Magoemon
Hôsei Komatsu Hôsei Komatsu ... Tahei
Takashi Sue Takashi Sue ... Store Owner
Masashi Makita Masashi Makita ... Guest
Makoto Akatsuka Makoto Akatsuka ... Sangorô
Unko Uehara Unko Uehara ... Otama
Shinji Tsuchiya Shinji Tsuchiya ... Kantarô
Kaori Tozawa Kaori Tozawa ... Osue
Yoshi Katô Yoshi Katô ... Gosaemon
Kamatari Fujiwara ... Denbei
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Storyline

During feudal times in Osaka, Koharu, a courtesan, and Jihei, a married paper merchant, fall in love, they having met in he being one of her regular customers. Their passion for each other is all consuming, especially for Kihei who leaves the running of the paper store in the hands of his wife, Osan. At the beginning of each month - twenty-nine months thus far - Jihei writes a vow to Koharu to free her from her life so that they can be together. However, he doesn't have the money to pay her ransom, he spending whatever money he has in paying for her services. In the meantime, anyone can pay her ransom, she who would be his possession. Jihei and Koharu have vowed to commit suicide together so that they can be together for eternity if they cannot be together on Earth. Jihei and Koharu's journey is affected by several people: his brother, Magoemon, and Osan's parents, who want Jihei to to do right by Osan as her husband and father to their two young children; wealthy Tahei, who believes ... Written by Huggo

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Drama

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

Japan

Language:

Japanese

Release Date:

11 February 1970 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Double Suicide See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

This film is part of the Criterion Collection, spine #104. See more »

Connections

Featured in Celluloid Man (2012) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Double Suicide Review
11 November 2008 | by brian-ariottiSee all my reviews

Stemming from a Japanese puppet play from the 1700's, Double Suicide stands tall and beautiful as a new wave love story similar to that of "Romeo and Juliet" on the surface. Masahiro Shinoda takes some risky strides in his directing by utilizing a series of dark "puppet master" characters to linger in the majority of all scenes alluding to the story in its earliest form. This concept manages to workout wonderfully by some miracle and really compliments the thematic elements of the film as we watch the cast manipulate one another or "pull each other's strings." The performances are all stellar in this film as Shinoda makes sure to direct each to have a very vacant and detached approach to their roles allowing their characters to fall into the deceit of one another. Jihei, (Kichiemon Nakamura), is perfect in his dark conviction of his immoral affair with a 19 year old prostitute (Shima Iwashita), while still attempting to maintain a healthy relationship with his too-loyal wife Osan (also played by Shima Iwashita). Osan takes the feminist's nightmare role of a wife whom stands by her husband's side and is supportive of his every wrong-doing. The prostitute, Koharu, balances the relationship by playing the role of a friend to the wife and promising to end her affair while professing her never-ending love for Jihei when Osan is out of the picture. Everyone shares a shifting balance of power, control, and love for one another really adding up to the thrilling climax of this film.

Visually, this film is just as outstanding as is its narrative. The cinematographer plans his shots smart by finding the ideal balance for including the puppet masters in appropriate shots. This is a film full to the brim of wide and establishing shots with puppet masters cleverly tucked in the distant background of each frame opposed to using unnecessary close-ups. This is most similar to how puppet masters in the original puppet play productions would remain shielded in the darkness of the stage to remain being seen as little as possible.


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