Summary: A masterpiece of sexual tension and violent frustration, Japanese master Kaneto Shindo's 1963 masterpiece 'Onibaba' is essential on Blu-ray.
Set in a remote part of Japan ravaged by war, but miles away from the frontlines of the rivaling shogunates, Kaneto Shindo's 'Onibaba' may be small in scale but it is just as brutal as any conflict imaginable. It takes your breath away right from the start and never lets up.
A violent mother and daughter-in-law duo use their familiarity of their local seven-foot high susuki grass fields to ambush helpless samurai soldiers and strip them of their armour and weapons to sell on for food after they dispose of the bodies down a devastatingly deep pit.
When a returning warrior comes home and informs them that their son/husband is dead, a destructive tale of loss unfolds as the mother simmers with anger and the daughter-in-law/widow aches with sexual longing for this messenger.
Scenes of the man and young woman running feverishly through the dizzying grass in carnal desire are unforgettable. Indeed, the whole film grabs you with its explicit sex and violence that feels well ahead of its half century age.
If you didn't discover this masterpiece on Eureka's previous DVD, this pin sharp Blu-ray is the way forward. Extraswise, The Masters of Cinema have done it again with another fine selection of worthy bonus materials:
Full-length audio commentary by director Kaneto Shindô and the stars of the film, Kei Satô and Jitsuko Yoshimura
Video introduction by Alex Cox
46 minutes of 8mm footage shot on location by lead actor Kei Satô
Optional English subtitles
Original theatrical trailer
36 page Booklet containing an essay by Doug Cummings, a 2004 statement from writer/director Kaneto Shindô about why he made Onibaba, an English translation of the original short Buddhist fable that inspired the film, a 1972 interview with Shindô conducted by Joan Mellen and rare imagery.
One of the biggest bits of casting news in the last few months was Tom Hardy's involvement in David Ayer's 'Suicide Squad' - the forthcoming superhero picture also starring Will Smith, Jared Leto, Jai Courtney, Cara Delevingne and 'The Wolf of Wall Street' breakout starlet Margot Robbie.
Another year, another set of Oscar nominations and another round of gasps of both joy and shock as the toast of Hollywood is picked by their peers. Leading the pack are two critical darlings each with nine nominations: Wes Anderson's wonderful dramedy 'The Grand Budapest Hotel' and the genre-bending breakthrough 'Birdman'. 'The Imitation Game' followed closely with eight including a surprise Best Director nod.
The recent leaks of Sony's email database are continuing to flow as more information comes to light, the latest being that studio chairman Amy Pascal is keen to see Daniel Craig's James Bond be replaced by Idris Elba.
The London Film Critics' Circle has announced the nominations for its 35th annual awards ceremony, with Mike Leigh's historical biopic Mr Turner leading the way with seven nominations, including Film of the Year and British Film of the Year.
Double Oscar winner Sean Penn hasn't been known to close in the most commercial of film projects, but as he's reached his fifties the 'Mystic River' and 'Milk' star appears to have had a change of heart.
The Golden Globe nominations have been announced and âBirdmanâ âBoyhoodâ and âImitation Gameâ are leading the pack while some heavy hitters found themselves snubbed: 'Interstellar' settled for just a music nomination for Hans Zimmer's score and Angelina Jolie's 'Unbroken' got nothing, as did Clint Eastwood's war drama 'American Sniper' starring a snubbed Bradley Cooper.
'Skyfall' director Sam Mendes took to the Pinewood Studios stage to formally announce the particulars of the forthcoming James Bond movie. The Oscar winner revealed that 007's 24th adventure would be titled 'Spectre'.
Amateur boxer turned pin-up actor turned pro boxer turned Oscar nominated actor turned pro boxer again Mickey Rourke scored a professional boxing match win at the age of 62 last week, but some sources now claim the two round fight was rigged.
One of the earliest to announce their film picks in the awards season, the Independent Spirit Awards have revealed their nominations with director Alejandro G. Inarritu's 'Birdman' leading the way with six noms.