Friday, January 8, 2010

#226: Onibaba

(Kaneto Shindo, 1964)

When I would make a beeline for the Criterion section at a DVD rental or retail store, Onibaba always had one of the more striking covers. What's going on there? It had echoes of Kabuki, but a more sinister feel. When I saw Kwaidan a few years ago - which I loved - Onibaba came up in a few threads about the film, but I never made the plunge until today. The visuals can't hold a candle to that film, but then again this is a very different kind of movie, a gritty tale of demons and murder and boobs. The ending is so abrupt and oddly terrifying that I was tempted to redeem the whole film, which had been good, but not great. Upon reflection, it didn't save a movie that had brief moments of brilliance, but seems merely adequate among giants.

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