Sunday, 18 May 2014
MAY 18, 2014
JIGKUMON/ Gate of Hell (1953) Directed by Teinosuke Kinogasa *****
Stunningly beautiful colour photography marks this great Japanese film. It was supposedly, the first Japanese film to be commercially successful in America. A samurai falls in love with a married woman and despite her protests tries everything to persuade her to leave her husband and marry him. The tension mounts as the samurai's behaviour, fed by jealousy, becomes more and more erratic, leading to inevitable tragedy. I love Japanese cinema and found this film particularly engrossing. Excellent performance by actress Machiko Kyo who, the following year, would co-star with Marlon Brando in TEAHOUSE OF THE AUGUST MOON.While the title may suggest a traditional Japanese ghost story it actually refers to one of the city gates as well as having a more metaphorical meaning. Highly recommended.