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Onibaba

Raw fare is sometimes high adventure and exciting, at other times dull in its so-called symbolism. Too often, it turns out to be a pot-pourri of ravenous eating and blatant sex.

With:
Nobuko Otowa Jitsuko Yoshimura Kei Sato Jukichi Uno Taiji Tonomura

Raw fare is sometimes high adventure and exciting, at other times dull in its so-called symbolism. Too often, it turns out to be a pot-pourri of ravenous eating and blatant sex.

Basic plot shows an elderly woman and her daughter-in-law, stranded without any means of support, during the civil wars of 16th century Japan. They live among the reeds, many of them grown higher than their heads. When wounded, exhausted warriors wander in, the women kill them. The victims are stripped of their weapons and clothing, which they sell in return for food. They live undisturbed until Hachi (Kei Sato) returns from the fighting with news that the older woman’s son, husband of the younger woman, is dead.

Hachi immediately tries to lure the younger femme to his hut for nightly trysts. He succeeds, and the older woman tries to halt the affair.

Nobuko Otowa is superb as the older woman, while Jitsuko Yoshimura contribs an excellent characterization as the daughter-in-law, especially in the ‘romantic’ sequences. Sato is well cast as the former farmer youth.

Onibaba

Japan

Production: Kindai/Tokyo. Director Kaneto Shindo; Producer Hisao Itoya, Setsuo Noto, Tamotsu Minato; Screenplay Kaneto Shindo; Camera Kiyomi Kuroda; Editor Toshio Enoki; Music Hikaru Hayashi; Art Director Shindo

Crew: (B&W) Available on VHS, DVD. Extract of a review from 1965. Running time: 103 MIN.

With: Nobuko Otowa Jitsuko Yoshimura Kei Sato Jukichi Uno Taiji Tonomura

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