Criterion Collection: Gate of Hell [Blu-ray]  [US Import]
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It's a film that occasionally manages to wrongfoot the viewer, not least in the final scene, but as drama it's never quite as compelling or convincing as it could be. Kasuo Hasegawa's intransigent would-be husband and Isao Yamagata's kindly husband offer an effective study in contrasts, the former tightly wound, the other blinded to the danger by his own unselfishness but, surprisingly, Machiko Kyo is more problematic as the woman caught between them, all too obviously hitting her marks and striking poses at times while the rest of the cast seem more unforced.Read more ›
In this movie, the loyalty operates at the social (clan) as well as at the personal level. Rival subjects of the emperor break loyalties by fighting each other for a privileged position at the court. On the other hand, unrestrained passion and sexual harassment of wives of other clan members are also considered as an unacceptable conduct. One of the participants of the yearly `ceremony of conciliation' among the clans is simply thrown out of the ceremony for his aggressive behavior. Finally, there is also the loyalty of a wife to her husband.
Teinosuke Kinugasa's movie shines through its magical mix of color and light, with dark scenes for unrestrained passion and light ones for beauty and self-sacrifice: every frame of every shot is simply a formidable Japanese print. It shines also through the masterful directing and the restraint acting of its main female character. Ultimately, it shines through its treatment of such almighty important themes as the battle between `good and evil' / `war and peace' resulting in `life or death' for its protagonists.
While Carl Theodor Dreyer's `The Passion of Joan of Arc' was a pioneering feature film because of its camera movements and bold focalizing, while Dziga Vertov's `Man with a Movie Camera' was a pioneering movie because of its brilliant shooting angles, its split screens and its rhythmic `one by one frame' editing, Teinosuke Kinugasa's `Gate of Hell' is a pioneering movie because of his magnificent play with light and color, turning it into a grandiose spectacle.
He shot an eternal masterpiece. A must see.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Movie about Japanese reality - Japanese who even now cannot say No . Cultural experience of Japanese culturePublished 9 months ago by Zdenek Hanzlik
its an amazing film. loved it. they way he uses colours, is out of this world. this is a very good film that should not be missed.Published 10 months ago by Amazon Customer
A land mark of colour cinema and Kodak were so impressed with the artistic use of the newly introduced Eastman Colour that they requested a print for their archives..Published 12 months ago by Robert Hart
It is one of the most powerful and moving films I ever saw. When it was shown at Cannes in 1954, it won the "Palme d'Or", beating amongst others the Oscars covered "From here to... Read morePublished on 8 May 2013 by Maciej
Similar reasons to Ugetsu Monogatori. The colours were beautifully restored. Kyo Machiko was her expressive self. Read morePublished on 6 Mar. 2013 by James Messini
Another terrific presentation from Masters of Cinema. Excellent dual format quality with a superb accompanying booklet. I am never disappointed by this company. Read morePublished on 14 Jan. 2013 by Oblomov