7 December 2008 | chaos-rampant
A vibrant, theatrical film with a forgettable story but impressive style
This is an Ichikawa film so expect anything short of sheer visual awesomeness and yer a fool. Impeccably staged, superbly lighted and shot with remarkable flair for atmosphere, this one deserves a watch on its technical cinematic merits alone. The plot relates the adventures of a Kabuki stage actor plotting revenge against those who disgraced and drove his parents to madness and suicide, apparently a readaptation of a 30's movie. Everything is very campy though and the protagonist, a feminine man with a pathetic croaky voice dressed in woman's clothes, is bound to induce a fair amount of groans. Obviously related to the material at hand, Ichikawa stages and shoots the movie in a stylized theatrical manner. The intentional artificiality of sets and lighting perfectly mirrors that. Perhaps the best thing about it is the use of colour, with bright reds, yellows and whites offering a vibrant counterbalance to the almost complete darkness of other set-pieces. All in all, I didn't find the dramaturgy of the film very involving and I suspect Ichikawa didn't care for it either. From a technical standpoint however it is certainly commendable.