Fighting Elegy

The year is 1966 and Seijun Suzuki's relationship with his longtime studio Nikkatsu is strained to say the least. Tokyo Drifter left him on double secret probation and barred from using the companies color film stock. Branded to Kill would ultimately get him fired. But between those two brilliant pieces of art comes Fighting Elegy, an anti-"red pill" film attacking toxic masculinity and militarism. Written by Kaneto Shindo who directed Onibaba and, turns out, was a left-wing activist, Fighting Elegy is a farewell to arms and the ideas of manhood, sex, and power that fed authoritarian nationalism that led to nearly 3,000,000 Japanese dead in World War 2. It's also funny -- like Vonnegutianly so -- and shot with all the beautifully off-the-wall style we expect from Suzuki, but in this case those wacky visual choices actually land in a philosophical style, too.

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Onibaba

Ok, so Pat doesn't like scary movies, but the Japanese horror films we've seen so far have been something else entirely. Kwaidan, for instance, was a more a collection of folk tales that happened to have ghosts involved.

Similarly, Kaneto Shindo's 1964 film Onibaba isn't much of a horror film, though it's not exactly a folk tale, either. More of the story of the "true" inspiration that became the folk tale of the "Demon hag", though Pat takes some umbrage with translating "baba" as "hag" because, really, who uses the word hag anymore?

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