An Actor's Revenge

1963

Drama

98
IMDb Rating 7.5 10 1,946

Synopsis


Downloaded times
October 12, 2020

Director

Cast

720p.BLU 1080p.BLU
1.02 GB
1280*720
Japanese 2.0
NR
23.976 fps
115 min
P/S N/A / N/A
1.89 GB
1920×1080
Japanese 2.0
NR
23.976 fps
115 min
P/S N/A / N/A

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by mkiem 10 / 10 / 10

One of the most visually exciting movies ever

Ichikawa supposedly made this movie "to see what cinema could do." He pulls out all the stops and the result is a masterpiece of visual splendor, wit and style that is stunning as well as very entertaining. The story of a man taking revenge against the people who killed his parents is an old cliched melodrama that was assigned to him. But he turns necessity into a virtue by glorifying the kitsch while at the same time keeping an ironic stance. (don't miss a great visual pun involving a gunshot and a crescent moon.) He uses the widescreen to full effect in adopting the aesthetics of the Kabuki theater. The sheer visual inventiveness of the movie makes for the best kind of eye candy. There are bold splashes of primary colors and dramatic, very theatrical lighting. Some sets are intentionally artificial-looking while others are not. Somehow the two styles don't clash but instead portray the perfect intermingling of theater and cinema. Similarly, the use of jazz and lounge music(!) seems perfectly appropriate. Hasegawa, the lead actor, played the same role in a previous version of the movie nearly 30 years earlier. A man who acts like a woman, seducing a woman young enough to be his daughter lends a touch of the bizarre which just makes things more interesting. The movie is graced by Ayako Wakao, at the height of her incredible beauty.

Reviewed by JudasTheDark 8 / 10 / 10

Tragic crust with a playful center

Yukinojo Henge, or "An Actors Revenge" in English can be appreciated on a number of different levels. First of all there is the intricate plans of revenge the kabuki actor main character carries out against those who had been responsible for his parents deaths. Secondly one can enjoy it as a period piece. Those interested in Tokugawa Period Japan will enjoy critiquing the historical accuracy of the film. However what really separates this movie from other tales of revenge and intrigue is in its playfulness. The movie was considered a tribute to the actor who played the part of the lead. It was Kazuo Hasegawa's 300th role and the movie was a remake of the 1935 film of the same name. In many scenes you can see Hasegawa injecting himself as an actor into the movie. These can usually be picked up only if one is somewhat familiar with the behind the scenes aspects of the film. If one is aware that Hasegawa is not only playing the main character, but also that of Yamitaro the thief then there are certain parts of the dialogue that take on a new meaning. One example of this is when Hasegawa playing the thief witnesses Hasegawa playing Yukinojo Nakamura lying to his love interest and pawn Namiji. After seeing this Yamitaro comments to himself, and also to the audience, that Nakamura is such a great actor, referring to his lies, that he shouldn't be wasting his time with his kabuki troop. Since we as viewers are aware that we are seeing a movie, as well as being aware that the one being commented on is the same as the one doing the commenting, we can see this as Hasegawa making his presence as the actor Hasegawa known. He is essentially complimenting himself saying, "I am such a great actor, why am I wasting my time doing this movie?" There are a couple more instances of similar playfulness between the three part relationship of Hasegawa as Hasegawa the actor in the reality of the film audience, Hasegawa as Nakamura the actor in the reality of the characters, and Hasegawa as Yamitaro. In one scene Yamitaro explains that the reason he is aiding Nakamura in his quest is because he has come to feel a kinship with him as if he were his brother, again playing on the audience's knowledge that the two "brothers" are played by the same person. Another example of how playful the film is can be seen in its cinematography. The main character is a kabuki onnagata, or a male actor who specializes in playing female roles. There are a couple of scenes in the movie that play up on this fact and shoot the movie in a fashion that provides the audience with the feeling that they are watching a kabuki play. In one example there is a swordfight in a forest. Even though the movie is made in the 1960s when it would have been very possible to have realistic looking backgrounds, the trees do not look real at all. This makes the forest in which they are fighting feel more like a theater set than an authentic landscape. During this swordfight an onlooker says to herself that it is better than watching one on a kabuki stage. Since the audience is aware of the fake scenery, the characters role as an onnagata, and some would even know that the actor himself was once an onnagata, the comment takes on a whole new life than were it an onlooker in a basic action movie watching a scene and saying, "wow that was even cooler than in the movies!" With all of these inside jokes between the actors and the film audience that the characters are not aware of, the movie becomes much more interactive and thus more enjoyable for someone looking for a fun multi-layered movie.

Reviewed by GyatsoLa 8 / 10 / 10

Kabuki in a kabuki

This movie is that rare species - a film that doesn't take itself seriously for a moment, and yet is stunningly well made and original. According to Donald Richies '100 Years of Japanese Cinema' the director was forced to make this movie (the remake of a popular but very hammy 1930's original) as a punishment for his self indulgence in earlier movies. He responded by turning up the campiness to '11' in Spinal Tap terms. Kon Ichikawa manages to take the story of a famous Kabuki female impersonator who wrecks revenge on three powerful men who killed his parents both beautiful (the scenery and photography is stunning) and queasy - everyone seems to fall in love with the rather ugly and very feminine leading 'man'. The story is irrelevant (presumably deliberately so), its all an exercise in style. You can see where Suzuki and many other later directors got a lot of their ideas. Kon is a very talented and skillful film maker so despite the fact that the cast are clearly playing it up for laughs, it is extremely well made, with wonderful sets and tight editing. Despite its origins, it is genuinely entertaining and required viewing for anyone with an interest in Kabuki or Japanese design.

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