Onibaba ★★★★

This moody and beautiful piece of Japanese Horror/Drama is one of the most influential pieces of cinema that exists. This 1964 classic by Kaneto Shindo broke barriers of terror, sexuality, nudity and violence when it hit American shores.

Taking place in 14th Century Japan during a great civil war - two women (older and younger - as they are referred) struggle for survival in the grasslands of rural Japan. With all the men at war (including the younger woman's husband - who is also the son of the Older woman) - the two depend on each other for survival - scratching a living together by murdering A.W.O.L soldiers, throwing their bodies down a pit, and selling their belongings to a local merchant. Tensions are already high when Hachi - an escaped soldier who lives in a neighboring hut tells them that the man of their household was killed. The younger woman begins to lust after Hachi, much to the Mother's dismay - until a mysterious Demon Mask makes it's way into the hands of the mother - who uses it to frighten the younger from seeking Hachi's affections... but to what end?

Gorgeous cinematography and pulsating score add to the moodiness that director Shindo brings to the screen. Combined with the magnetic performances of the small cast and the "Greek Tragedy" that the film puts forward - it's no wonder that so many mainstream filmmakers have this on their top 10 list ... as do I. Check it out!

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