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So thanks Quentin.
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Well, kind of. I hesitate to display my appreciation more fully because Kill Bill was such a complete sampling that its almost a modern day retelling of the film. So honestly, I felt kind of cheated. This review is about Lady Snowblood. A film that simply blows Tarantino out of the water despite it all.
Unknown to them, she has another purpose other than getting from here to there. Soon, swords are drawn and much blood entirely theirs stains the ground on which they lay. The woman named Yuki moves on.
We learn that her father, a school teacher, was brutally murdered and that her mother was beaten, raped, and imprisoned. Think about that for a minute.
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Her mother had sex with every creep and prison guard in order get pregnant and spawn an instrument of death and revenge. As you might expect, this is not an uplifting film. The experience is harrowing and hard, but you are pulled along with her because of her incredible sense of duty and the horrible acts perpetrated.
No credit given for good behavior. Yuki is set to kill whether or not life has rewarded or punished after the crime. There are no rollicking action sequences here to be rewound and watched again.
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There is, however, plenty of swords and gore, filmed in the blunt, straight forward style of something absolutely inevitable. The violence here still shocks as it must have in at the time of its release.
But even those sequences are well made, employing almost a comic strip feel and presentation. And yea, that is another element Tarantino included in Kill Bill. Anyone who enjoys Asian cinema should see this film. See the film that was meant to be seen.
Film reviews and commentary from Marilyn Ferdinand and Roderick Heath
There she knifed him during sex, a crime for which she was imprisoned, but Sayo made sure she got pregnant by screwing any man she could, with the intention of producing a child who could carry on her vengeance. The ritualistic form of much Asian action cinema is intact, with Yuki moving from target to target with relentless, mounting mayhem after intensive training in the art of killing. But Fujita essays the narrative in chapters, utilising a circular style in revealing the story that ties intricately to the what-goes-around-comes-around moral and multigenerational shape of the tale.
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These demons manifest in her wide, remarkable eyes, with their reddened rims burning in her almost spectrally pale face, offered in awe-stoking close-up. Do I remind you of someone you once raped? Then again, an interesting aspect of post-WWII Japanese genre cinema, especially of the historical variety, tends to be its outright cynicism over institutions and social roles of the past, unlike many equivalent western genres, like Hollywood and British swashbucklers, Italian peplum, or pre-Peckinpah westerns, instead fixating on warriors and nobles and yet very often portraying a corrupt, decaying, brutal world.
Kaji was a big star with young pop-loving audiences, sustaining a recording career simultaneously with her acting; her appeal was pitched for that generation, and one of the films she followed Lady Snowblood with was the antisocial Bonnie and Clyde variant Jeans Blues Fujita eschews all but the most basic stunts for Yuki to perform a stink bomb hidden in her hair is as fancy as her tricks get , and in spite of the stylistic flourishes, Lady Snowblood walks a tricky tightrope that offsets lyricism and action with a raw realism. Yuki crawls away, bawling in crushing existential anguish at where her life has led her.