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Onibaba (The Criterion Collection)
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Special Offers and Product Promotions
- New digital transfer with restored image and sound and new English subtitles
- New video interview with writer/director Kaneto Shindo
- Rare super-8 black & white footage provided by actor Kei Sato, shot on Location during the filming of Onibaba
- Stills gallery featuring production sketches and promotional art
- Rare english translation of the original short buddhist fable that inspired the film
- Filmmaker's statement from writer/director Kaneto Shindo
Top Customer Reviews
The story is of the flotsam and jetsam of war, the left-over non-combatants who must still live by whatever means they can while commerce and industry is devastated and all able-bodied men are soldiers. In this harsh environment an old woman and her daughter-in-law become carrion crows, murdering lone samurai who have escaped wounded from a battle, then selling their arms and armor to a dealer who then sells it back to the armies, to strap around more corpses-to-be and eventually be recycled into more profits for the women.
Into this self-sustaining cycle comes Hachi, a friend of the old woman's son and young woman's husband, who claims that the son/husband is dead and he intends to leave behind the fighting and settle near the two women. The young woman is still young, and lusts for the life and vitality she senses in Hachi. The old woman, fearing abandonment and starvation, plays on the superstitious fears of the young woman, haunting her with a stolen Noh mask of a devil's face.
The transformation from the death-cycle of the old and young woman, to the living passion of Hachi is a powerful transition in "Onibaba." The raw, naked sexuality between Hachi and the young woman (who is never given a name) is unexpected in a black and white film, and thus all the more powerful.Read more ›
Onibaba's characters are lost in the middle of a field covered with uncut grass and wheat. We have to dive into this scenery that is the fourth main character of the film if we want to discover this tragic and fantastic tale of love and jealousy. An impressing number of scenes are already part of Movie History and will stay for a long time in your memory : the love scenes between the young woman and Hachi, all the scenes involving the mask of the stray samurai and also the first murder committed by the women if I may select chosen moments of this masterpiece.
As always, the copy presented by Criterion is nearly perfect. Bonus features include a recent interview with the director Kaneto Shindô who's well over 90 now and a home movie shot by Kei Sato during the shooting. Frankly, I can't see now what can prevent you from enjoying this unforgettable film.
Stripping the now-dead warriors of their armor, the two sell it for food; this is their nasty means of survival in a desperate land. The younger woman, however, needs more than food to survive. Her hunger for the touch of a man is greater than that for food and she finds one who she is sure will satisfy her. But her mother-in-law is enraged by this possibility. Finding a mask on one of the dead samurais, the old woman dons it, mimicking a demon, to frighten the younger one.
The mother-in-law's scheme does not go as planned.
The director, Kaneto Shindo, has here created a sparse, riveting tale that transfixes the viewer because of its down-to-the-bone simplicity. Greed, fear, jealousy, and rage are all expressed with a minimum of action, but when they are on display, they're intense and that much more powerful. The subtle black and white cinematography is a perfect complement to the film's simplicity of tone. No tale of the supernatural can ever work without at least one of man's baser emotions present, and it works much more effectively when the expression of those emotions is lean amd nean, as it is here.
The much-touted current Japanese horror film, Ring, has been given enough attention by the media to, at long last generate its ultimate homage, an American remake.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
ONIBABA (DEMON HAG; THE HOLE; DEVIL WOMAN; ...) Well-Crafted Story Telling!
Rating = ****
Director: Kaneto Shindou
Film = four (4)... Read more
I first saw this movie back in the late 80's, early 90's and have been searching for it since. My recollections of it was that 1) it was very scary and suspenseful because of the... Read morePublished 13 months ago by Lilly Lo
very good movie but not a horror movie ask the guy that made it not me but it is about the harsness of life and sex lots of boob scens not strange for a japanesse moviePublished 14 months ago by Kennet R. Beeney
For plot details please see the other reviews. Captivating, sensual, interesting. Many people have said this is a "horror" film, but I disagree entirely. Read morePublished 19 months ago by Allegrobas
I liked this 1964 ground-breaking drama about two women trying to survive in the middle of merciless Nanbokucho Wars which devastated Japan during most of XIV century. Read morePublished 21 months ago by Maciej
what begins within the first hour of this film to be a story of some sort of forbidden love, later becomes a truly macabre and creepy story of demonic horror. Read morePublished on May 7, 2013 by Natja K.
Awesome movie!!! If you like Japanese cinema then this is a must have in your collection! Very creepy film and beautifully done.Published on April 29, 2013 by Deal Grabber!
This is one of the best movies ever made. While many focus on the Noh mask, the main elements of this movie are its eroticism and natural scenery. Read morePublished on March 9, 2013 by The Curmudgeon
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