Directed by: Akio Jissôji
Stars: Michiko Tsukasa, Ryô Tamura, Eiji Okada
Language: Japanese Subtitles: English
Also known as: Mujô
Description: Set around a remote Buddhist monastery, it features Masao, a young son of a rich merchant who doesn’t want to follow his father into business or go to college, preferring to study under a famous Master how to make Kannon statues of the Goddess of Mercy. At the same time, his sister Yuri is struggling to find a potential husband, only for it to explode when their horseplay in masks one day leads to an incestuous consummation that brings disaster to all. They fall in love, she gets pregnant but it’s assumed to be someone else’s, who she marries. A monk at the monastery knows the truth, and confronts Masao, who goes off instead to the master sculptor to be his assistant, only to then begin another affair with his wife, who in turn seduces her young son who, in horror, blames the whole business on Masao and sets out to kill him.
This movie has the best cinematography i have seen in years. It is as dense, perfect staged and lit as the opening sequence of Orson Welles’ “Othello” during the whole movie. The actors are superb casted and the story resonates. –
Furthermore it has got an astonishing soundtrack: a combination of western harmony (classical music) mixed with sounds heard in the japanese No-Theater; it perfectly sets accents and structures the time and space(themes).
I was mesmerized the whole time through and am very thankful to Ronald Domenig, the initiator of the “Art Theatre Guild” retrospective at the Austrian Filmmuseum for showing and personally translating(subtitling) it.
This has been a movie experience that will stick with me.