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ONIBABA (Masters of Cinema) (DVD & BLU-RAY DUAL FORMAT) [1964]

Kaneto SHINDO    Suitable for 15 years and over   Blu-ray
4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (24 customer reviews)
Price: 13.52 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Reviews

From Amazon.co.uk

If Hammer Studios had ever set up a Japanese franchise, the outcome might have looked rather like this. Kaneto Shindo's film has something of the lurid, full-throated relish for the horror of Hammer at its best, plus a visual elegance all its own. The story is based on a folk tale, set in Japan's war-torn 14th century. The action takes place almost entirely in a riverside marshland overgrown with tall swaying reeds. A woman and her daughter-in-law living in a hut prey on wounded samurai warriors fleeing from a nearby battlefield, killing them and selling their armour for handfuls of rice. When the younger woman falls for a handsome young deserter, the mother decides to put a stop to the affair. But the method she chooses demands a terrible price. Shooting in lustrous widescreen black-and-white, Shindo creates an eerie, atmospheric world haunted by the ceaseless dry whisperings of the reeds. None of the characters is loveable, or even likeable, but the thorough rapacity of the women, and the raw sexuality of the lovers, convey a fierce determination to survive even at the lowest scavenging edge of a violent society. --Philip Kemp

Product Description

SYNOPSIS: Kaneto Shindo, one of Japan s most prolific directors, received his biggest international success with the release of Onibaba [The Demoness] in 1964. Its depiction of violence and graphic sexuality was unprecedented at the time of release. Shindo managed - through his own production company Kindai Eiga Kyokai - to bypass the strict, self - regulated Japanese film industry and pave the way for such films as Yasuzo Masumura s Mojuu (1969) and Nagisa Oshima s In the Realm of the Senses (1976).

Onibaba [or Onibabaa, in its alternate spelling] is set during a brutal period in history, a Japan ravaged by civil war between rivaling shogunates. Weary from combat, samurai are drawn towards the seven - foot high susuki grass fields to hide and rest themselves, whereupon they are ambushed and murdered by a ruthless mother (Nobuko Otowa) and daughter - in - law (Jitsuko Yoshimura) team. The women throw the samurai bodies into a pit, and barter their armour and weapons for food. When Hachi (Kei Sato), a neighbour returning from the wars, brings bad news, he threatens the women s partnership.

Erotically charged and steeped in the symbolism and superstition of its Buddhist and Shinto roots, Kaneto Shindo s Onibaba is in part a modern parable on consumerism, a study of the destructiveness of sexual desire and - filmed within a claustrophobic sea of grass - one of the most striking and unique films of Japan's last half - century, winning Kiyomi Kuroda the Blue Ribbon Award for Cinematography in 1965. The memorably frenetic drumming soundtrack was scored by long - time Shindo collaborator Hikaru Hayashi. The Masters of Cinema Series is proud to present Onibaba for the first time on Blu - ray in the UK.

SPECIAL NEW BLU-RAY EDITION:
  • Gorgeous new 1080p HD transfer
  • Full - length director s audio commentary by director Kaneto Shindo and the stars of the film, Kei Sato, and Jitsuko Yoshimura
  • Video introduction by Alex Cox
  • 8mm footage (40 - minutes) shot on location by lead actor Kei Sato
  • Optional English subtitles
  • Original theatrical trailer
  • Production stills and promotional art gallery
  • 36 - PAGE BOOKLET with a new essay by Doug Cummings, an English translation of the original short Buddhist fable that inspired the film and a statement from writer/director Kaneto Shindo about why he made Onibaba

Review

Onibaba graphically illustrates that brutalism, art and allegory can co - exist to spellbindingly powerful effect. --Film 4

Product Description

United Kingdom released, Blu-Ray/Region B DVD: LANGUAGES: Japanese ( Dolby Digital 2.0 ), Japanese ( Dolby DTS-HD Master Audio ), English ( Subtitles ), WIDESCREEN (2.35:1), SPECIAL FEATURES: Black & White, Cast/Crew Interview(s), Commentary, Interactive Menu, Photo Gallery, Scene Access, Short Film, Special Edition, Trailer(s), SYNOPSIS: Kaneto Shindo, one of Japan's most prolific directors, received his biggest international success with the release of Onibaba [The Demoness] in 1964. Its depiction of violence and graphic sexuality was unprecedented at the time of release. Shindo managed - through his own production company Kindai Eiga Kyokai - to bypass the strict, self-regulated Japanese film industry and pave the way for such films as Yasuzo Masumura's Mojuu (1969) and Nagisa Oshima's In the Realm of the Senses (1976). Onibaba [or Onibabaa, in its alternate spelling] is set during a brutal period in history, a Japan ravaged by civil war between rivaling shogunates. Weary from combat, samurai are drawn towards the seven-foot high susuki grass fields to hide and rest themselves, whereupon they are ambushed and murdered by a ruthless mother (Nobuko Otowa) and daughter-in-law (Jitsuko Yoshimura) team. The women throw the samurai bodies into a pit, and barter their armour and weapons for food. When Hachi (Kei Sato), a neighbour returning from the wars, brings bad news, he threatens the women's partnership. Erotically charged and steeped in the symbolism and superstition of its Buddhist and Shinto roots, Kaneto Shindo's Onibaba is in part a modern parable on consumerism, a study of the destructiveness of sexual desire and - filmed within a claustrophobic sea of grass - one of the most striking and unique films of Japan's last half-century, winning Kiyomi Kuroda the Blue Ribbon Award for Cinematography in 1965. The memorably frenetic dru...Onibaba ( Devil Woman (The Demon) ) (Blu-Ray)
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