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Koiya Koi Nasuna Koi

The Mad Fox
Love, Thy Name be Sorrow

Japan 1962
produced by
Hiroshi Ohkawa for Toei
directed by Tomu Uchida
starring Hashizo Okawa, Michiko Saga, Ryunosuke Tsukigata, Shinji Amano, Rinichi Yamamoto, Akira Shioji, Kensaku Hara, Sumiko Hidaka, Yoshi Kato, Choichiro Kawarasaki, Eitaro Ozawa, Kenji Susukida, Jun Usami, Eijiro Yanagi
written by Yoshikata Yoda, music by Chuji Kinoshita

review by
Mike Haberfelner

Available on DVD !

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Master Yasunori is the Empire's chief astrologer, and after witnessing a white rainbow, he has an important prediction for the Emperor - but he's assassinated on his way there. So his adopted daughter Sakaki (Michiko Saga) daughter delivers the message, but since she only repeats the prediction verbatim with out any remedy, she's doubted at the court - which is of course all a ploy by Master Yasunori's wife, who also had her husband assassinated to make her favourite, Doman (Shingi Amano) the new chief astrologer. Yasunori though always favoured Yasuna (Hashizo Okawa), who also happens to be in love with Sakaki (and vice versa). To discredit Sakaki, Yasunori's wife steals Yasumori's secret scroll that helps him interpreting the stars and puts the blame on Sakaki, then has her tortured and killed. Yasuna goes mad with sorrow, but then he catches Yasunori's wife with Doman, celebrating their success, with the scroll in their possession, and goes mad with rage, kills them both, burns down their house, and wanders off, aimlessly ...

Eventually, he comes across Sakaki's identical twin Kuzunoha (also Michiko Saga), and suffering from partial amnesia, he mistakes her for Sakaki. Since she's also very fond of him, she goes along with it. The two of them save the life an old woman who's actually a fox in disguise, so later when they are attacked by Akuemon (Riniyhi Yamamoto), Yasunori's killer, and his men, they are saved by a horde of foxes - only Yasuna is separated from the others and badly wounded, so a female fox takes on the appearance of Sakaki and nurses him back to health ... and falls in love with him, so under a pretense she makes him live with her in a simple hut - and the two are happy enough for her to even have his child. Of course, eventually Kuzunoha, who hasn't given up on Yasuna yet, comes across the hut ...

 

Now this is quite an unusual movie: The first half plays like a typical historical, with all the intrigue, torture and betrayal in all the right places as well as your customary love story - and the film's very good at that, telling its story at a brisk enough pace while putting an emphasis on style that never drowns out the story though. However, with the introduction of the foxes in human form, the film starts to borrow from Kabuki theatre (eg the foxes' masks), to eventually abandon attempts at realism by letting the second half of the film play on a very obvious theatre stage, with all the stage's mechanics (including scene stages) rather obviously in place - and thanks to a very assured direction that emphasizes both on characters and the otherworldly elements of its story, this works rather beautifully and ultimately makes for a very fascinating movie that well deserves a watch (or two).

 

 

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review © by Mike Haberfelner

 

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Robots and rats,
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Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

is all of that.

 

Tales to Chill
Your Bones to
-
a collection of short stories and mini-plays
ranging from the horrific to the darkly humourous,
from the post-apocalyptic
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Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

the new anthology by
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Out now from
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On the same day
a Burglar wants to kill you
and your Ex wants
to make up ...
... and for the life of it,
you can't decide
WHICH IS WORSE!!!

 

A Killer Conversation

produced by and starring
Melanie Denholme
directed by
David V.G. Davies
written by
Michael Haberfelner
starring
Ryan Hunter and
Rudy Barrow

out now on DVD