8.0/10
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8 user 11 critic

Demons (1971)

Shura (original title)
After being robbed by a geisha, a ronin warrior carves a bloody path to seek revenge.

Director:

Toshio Matsumoto

Writers:

Nanboku Tsuruya (play), Shûji Ishizawa (play) | 1 more credit »
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Katsuo Nakamura ... Gengobei
Juro Kara ... Sangorô
Yasuko Sanjo ... Koman
Masao Imafuku ... Hachiemon
Kappei Matsumoto Kappei Matsumoto ... Ryôshin
Tamotsu Tamura Tamotsu Tamura ... Yasuke
Hideo Kanze ... Takubei
Shinji Amano Shinji Amano ... Inosuke
Hatsuo Yamaya ... Chôhachi
Yusuke Minami Yusuke Minami ... Kankurô
Takashi Ebata ... Torazô (as Kanji Ebata)
Atsuko Kawaguchi Atsuko Kawaguchi ... Kikuno
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Storyline

Gengobe Satsuma, an exiled samurai cast out as an Asano clan retainer is given a second chance to join his brothers in arms to become the 48th Ronin against the Shogunate. His faithful servant gathers the 100 ryo required for his acceptance. Gengobe is also in love with a greedy geisha named Koman. About to be sold to another man, Gengobe learns that for him to keep her, her debt is exactly 100 ryo. Written by Vogels

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Drama | Horror

User Reviews

 
Money is the root of all evil
31 October 2016 | by Stijak91See all my reviews

If anyone imagined how a Greek tragedy would look if it was set in feudal Japan, look no further. It is a harrowing, exhausting, depressive experience, but it's worth it. The film follows a once great warrior, now a Ronin (for those unfamiliar, Ronin is a samurai without a master), named Gengobe, who has sold all of his property to repay his debts. He is in love with a geisha who is to be married to a rich lord, unless someone pays 100 Ryō for her liberty. Once he realizes that he was being played by this geisha and her husband, of whose existence he was unaware of, he becomes hell bent on revenge.

The film emits a strange sense of reality distortion. The film begins with a dream sequence, that is somewhat foreshadowing of things to happen. This theme is prevalent throughout the film. We can see things unfolding, only to realize that it was just a thought, or a fantasy of a certain characters. Reality tends to be different, albeit sometimes it can lead to the same conclusion. What was particularly striking was the way the graphic scenes of violence were portrayed. They were slowed down, they almost feel other-wordly, yet these graphic scenes are strangely beautiful. Highly contrasted Black and white cinematography helps this, we see characters illuminated against dark background like phantoms and the black blood coming out of the wounds becomes even more noticeable.

Shura is a tale of vengeance than leads all the parties involved into an abyss of some sort. There is no bright light at the end of the tunnel. Because of mere 100 Ryō, these people have turned into "Demons" and they're lives became "Hell". This film isn't disturbing because of its visual content, but because of its emotional impact. Gengobe isn't a typical hero, the reason why one would want to root for him is because he is an agent of justice (like Monte Cristo), but not because he himself is a virtuous hero worth rooting for. It's easy to hate most, if not all of the characters, but at the same time, it's difficult not to feet pity for them. Seldom comes a film that makes one feel this way.

This film is not for everyone, it's extremely pessimistic, it doesn't offer glimmers of hope. It's not an easy watch, but it's worth it. I highly recommend it to anyone who is interested in film as an art form.


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Details

Country:

Japan

Language:

Japanese

Release Date:

13 January 1974 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Demons See more »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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