Double Suicide* (Shinju ten no Amijima)
- 1969 ----- b & w ----- 104 min ----- vhs
(Directed by Masahiro Shinoda, screenplay by Masahiro Shinoda, Taeko Tomioka, Toru Takemitsu based on the play by Monzaemon Chikamatsu; with Kichiemon Nakamura, Shima Iwashita, Hosei Komatsu) Inspired by the classic 18th-century Bunraku play, the film is a heartbreaking tale of a married shopkeeper in love with a prostitute. Bound by duty, and too poor to pay her way out of bondage, Jihei asks Koharu to enter a suicide act, the only way they can be free. Shinoda's moving adaptation is at once faithful to the original and extremely innovation. Puppet masters and stage hands appear on screen, changing scenery and manipulating the actors' movements and props. These "backstage" views accentuate how the characters' lives are dictated by outside forces--destiny, if you will. The black and white cinematography is, quite simply, stunning.
(In Japanese with English subtitles)
(Restricted to use on University of Washington campuses only)
- Topics: (Asian Languages and Literature, Drama, Japan, Literature, Motion Pictures: Features, Women Studies)