11 January 2004 | fertilecelluloid
Sad, stunning fantasy
This is one of Toshiharu Ikeda's earliest films; he's best known for EVIL DEAD TRAP.
But this incredible fantasy (English title: MERMAID LEGEND) is perfection.
A fisherman is murdered by developers who want him to give up his land. His wife plots and exacts revenge against his killers.
A brief synopsis can do no justice to the beauty and ferocity of Ikeda's vision.
Mari Shirato delivers one of the finest performances ever as the woman who will not rest until vengeance is done. She, literally, becomes a force of nature, and her climactic massacre scene has a rawness and cinematic purity to it that has never been equaled. As her fury rages, so does the weather, and it is as if she has become part of the storm that washes the bloodshed away.
Ikeda stages much of the action in uninterrupted shots that elevate the film's realism.
Also stunning is the score.
In the 60's and 70's Japanese filmmakers created the "pearl diver" genre, and this uses that lost genre as its starting point.
I can not say enough good things about MERMAID LEGEND. It has haunted me for a decade. It is a gift.