Film #330: KURONEKO
4 out of 5 stars
A holiday rewatch! Ranking somewhere beneath Masaki Kobayashi’s KWAIDAN, but slightly higher on the scale than its director’s (Kaneto Shindo) other masterwork, ONIBABA, KURONEKO’s tale of vengeful ghosts and the samurai who is sent to slay them is sprawling and terrific. The acting is classic “jidaigeki” while the swordplay is just ok. But it is the way the director stages each scene and his painter-like use of B&W that sets this one apart. Now granted, I watch a lot of samurai drama and am therefore predisposed to loving this, but… this is easily one of the finer examples of the genre. Beautiful and out on Criterion, KURONEKO is HIGHLY recommended. If you’re interested in these types of things (ghost-centric samurai dramas), see KWAIDAN first as it’s one of the best the subgenre has to offer. Solid stuff!