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KURONEKO (Masters of Cinema) (BLU-RAY)

Kaneto SHINDO    Suitable for 15 years and over   Blu-ray
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
Price: £13.66 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Frequently Bought Together

KURONEKO (Masters of Cinema) (BLU-RAY) + ONIBABA (Masters of Cinema) (DVD & BLU-RAY DUAL FORMAT) [1964]
Price For Both: £24.54

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Product details

  • Directors: Kaneto SHINDO
  • Language: Japanese
  • Region: Region B/2 (Read more about DVD/Blu-ray formats.)
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Classification: 15
  • Studio: Eureka
  • DVD Release Date: 24 Jun 2013
  • Run Time: 95 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00CH066GI
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 17,839 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)


SYNOPSIS Kaneto Shindo ' s Kuroneko (Yabu no naka no kuroneko, or The Black Cat Inside the Bamboo Grove) - released to great acclaim in 1968 - is a sparse, atmospheric horror story, ascribing to the director ' s philosophy of using beauty and purity to evoke emotion. Eccentric and more overtly supernatural than its breakthrough companion piece, Onibaba, Kuroneko revisits similar themes to reveal a haunting meditation on duty, conformity, and love.

In this magnificently eerie and romantic film - loosely based on the Japanese folktale The Cat ' s Return - a mother and daughter - in - law (Nobuko Otowa and Kiwako Taichi) are raped and murdered by pillagers, but return from the dead as vampiric cat spirits intent on revenge. As the ghosts lure soldiers into the bamboo groves, a fearless samurai, Gintoki (Kichiemon Nakamura), is sent to stop their reign of terror.

Kuroneko remains a standout film of the kaidan eiga genre of period ghost stories often based on old legends or kabuki plays. Marking Shindo ' s first use of wire work as Yone and Shige battle against samurai blades, the film is subtly complimented by Kiyomi Kuroda s award - winning chiaroscuro cinematography, Hikaru Hayashi ' s vibrant score, and riveting performances from many of the greatest actors of Japan s golden age of film. The Masters of Cinema Series is proud to present Kuroneko for the first time on Blu - ray in the UK.

  • Newly restored 1080p transfer, in its original 2.35:1 original aspect ratio
  • Optional English subtitles (new translation)
  • 24 - page booklet with an essay by Doug Cummings, a reprint of a vintage interview with Shindo by Joan Mellen, and rare archival imagery.

Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
4.4 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
39 of 40 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Black Cat Horror 22 May 2006
By hj
A mother & daughter are robbed, raped & killed by marauding samurai. In revenge their spirits return to this world - via a black cat! - to seduce murder & suck the blood of passing samurai. This is very much a follow-up to Shindo's earlier Onibaba (1964). It has the same formula of mother & daughter struggling to survive in war torn feudal Japan. But where in Onibaba the supernatural element is in the minds of the characters, in Kuroneko (1968) the supernatural is "real" - the film is based on a traditional Japanese folk ghost tale. Like a lot of 60s films (Kwaidan, Actors Revenge etc) Kuroneko borrows elements from the extreme stylisation of traditional Japanese drama & dance and gives them an almost pop art spin. The black & white cinematography is absolutely stunning - chiaroscuro lighting magically transforming different bits of the studio set. The editing is equally impressive, giving a complexity to what might otherwise have been an overly simple & predictable narrative. The "feline" aspect which could so easily have seemed ridiculous is handled very well - handled straight (though not without understated humour). There is also some interesting use of "wire" acrobatics as in martial arts movies. Apparently this film was a big box office success in Japan which makes it surprising the film wasn't imported successfully to the west. Maybe the film lacked the erotic content that made Onibaba exotically appealing to foreign audiences. Anyway the film stands up really well & if you are at all interested in 60s Japanese cinema you must see this. It might also appeal to today's fans of Asian horror/fantasy. Eureka Masters of Cinema are probably the best DVD imprint for classic films & they've done another fine job here: restored high definition transfer, new subtitles & a fully illustrated booklet with very informative essay on the film by Doug Cummings & extract from Joan Mellon's old interview with Shindo (largely concerning his interest in sex & politics!).
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Intriguing Japanese Ghost Story 15 July 2010
In many ways Kuroneko is a very similar effort to Shindo's Onibaba, a more famous film. Kuroneko leans more directly towards the otherworldly though, and it benefits it to a great degree. The story is very much straight-forward, but what really makes this a strong film and well worth checking out is the haunting atmosphere and cinematography which really makes this a unique film. The special effects, although dated, adds a certain uncanny feeling to the film which, had modern techniques been used, wouldn't have been there.

Two women farmers are murdered and raped by some rogue samurai, but they return in spirit to haunt the local area. The husband and son of those two women returns a hero from the war, and is given the task of destroying whatever has been murdering samurai lately.

Much of the sensuality and dangerous passion returns here, just like in Onibaba, but in this it is even more direct and has an even greater danger. Regardless, if you enjoy the work of Shindo, Onibaba in particular, then this is an essential film to own.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars beauty and purity to evoke emotion 6 Jan 2014
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
beautiful, turgid, studied japanese madness. If your a fan of fine cinematography and can sit through hours of intelligble beaqutiful simplistic beauty. If you admire kurosawa and sanjit ray, you going to love these
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Fabulous Movie. Extremely Disappointing Bluray. 21 Jun 2013
I have been waiting for this to come to Blu-ray in the UK for a couple of years now and when I heard MOC were going to release it I was very optimistic for a great release, as per usual with MOC.

My disappointment then is quite profound to find this is the poorest Blu-ray I have ever witnessed from the great Eureka MOC series.

The only extra is the theatrical trailer, unless you count the, as ever, very informative booklet.
Now, I can just about live with a dearth of extras when a film is just this beautiful, atmospheric and creepy but what really makes my head hurt is the picture quality. IT'S JUST UNACCEPTABLE!!! Criterion have only recently released an edition of this in the USA and it's stunning! This UK release looks barely better than my old DVD copy, in fact, it may be worse! Dark, darkly darkness is what we've been presented with here and detail is practically non existent when compared to the Criterion disk. It looks like NO RESTORATION has been done at all as the film is still dirty and still flickers. I cant think what has gone wrong over in the QA department at Eureka. Maybe they couldn't source a good enough negative or didn't have the funds to do a remaster but it's far below the quality of some of their great releases.

I really would suggest skipping this, frankly terrible, Blu-ray and instead would point you in the direction of the Criterion edition, which is unfortunately region locked to America. So a region free player would be required too. However, Criterion release SO MANY great editions of great films, a region free player is a virtually a no brainer these days.

So, apologies, but 3 stars it is. Blu-rays are capable of much, much more. And so are Eureka - Masters of Cinema.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Classic Japanese cinema 21 Feb 2014
By ciro
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
Tale of love, loss and longing, Set against feudal Edo Japan. Film centers around a Mother and Daughter
who are savagely raped and murdered by a group of marauding Samurai,however come back as
avenging ghosts.

Masterful story telling and beautifully directed.
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