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: Asia Noir: Death Row Woman.  ( 158 )
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« : November 15, 2017, 05:59:39 PM »

Torrent 10

* This review may contain spoilers ***

Sharing my top viewings of Oct 2017,I started talking to fellow IMDber ManFromPlanetX about the highlights from their month of Asia viewings. Taking part in an ICM Film Noir challenge,I asked Planet X about their favourite Noir's from Asia,and got told about a great- sounding title,which led to me visiting woman's death row.

The plot:

Wanting to keep pride and money in the family business, Mr. Imai wants to get his daughter Kyoko married to. Unknown to her dad,Kyoko secretly loves the less well-off Soichi,who has gotten her pregnant. Eventually revealing this to him,Kyoko and her dad have a huge row,as Kyoko's sister Minako and mother Midori listen in. Finishing the argument,Mr. Imai has a glass of whisky,and dies. Learning that the whisky was poisoned,the police charge Kyoko with his murder. Going to trial,Kyoko is found guilty and sent to death row. Horrified that she has been set-up, (and is unable to see her new- born son or Soichi) Kyoko starts making plans to crack open a whisky bottle to freedom.

View on the film:

Pulling all of Kyoko's hopes and dreams out onto the screen into a bloody mess, director Nobuo Nakagawa & cinematographer Jgy Yoshida drill down into an incredibly intense Film Noir atmosphere,with the anxiety in an attempted prison escape sequence being heightened by Nakagawa with ultra-stylised shots above the ceiling,looking down as night guards cross the escape lines of Kyoko,and a nail-biting set- piece on a train,has Nakasawa and Yoshida weaving the camera between the lines of passengers. Following the Imai family on a hunt where the rules of the game are established,Nakasawa enters the Noir gloom at the heart of the family with elegant,backwards tracking shots that allow the tension between Kyoko (played by a magnificent Miyuki Takakura) and her family to be spread across the cell.

Chaining Kyoko up on death row, the screenplay by Yoshihiro Ishikawa sentences her to impressively taking on mental breakdown and rape committed by a woman in a delicate manner,that is focused on these being extensions of the miscarriage of justice that Kyoko is suffering. Giving Kyoko's family venomous dialogue, Ishikawa superbly crosses WIP,taboo-pushing Drama, frantic murder- mystery investigating, with white-knuckle Film Noir,as Ishikawa makes Kyoko's time on death row one where tragedy and family backstabbing take place in the outside world,and Kyoko can only look out from her Film Noir loner prison cell,on woman's death row.

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