Gonza the Spearman ★★★★½

masahiro shinoda's less famous chikamatsu monzaemon adaptation, exchanging the avant-garde gestures of his double suicide (and, to an even greater extent, the 1970s works that followed in that film's footsteps) for an elegant classicism - this is, after all, a 1986 film in which shinoda recruits the same cinematographer that shot mizoguchi's crucified lovers. the trick is not so much in the beauty of it all, but the way shinoda lays bare the violence underneath the aestheticism, the gestures that cloak the brutal restrictions propping up a rigid society in period of fatal decline. the denouement on the bridge is brutal and stupid and tragic, of course, but the really necessary gesture is in that coda.