An Actor's Revenge
(Ichikawa Kon, 1963)
I've let a few days pass since watching this, thinking a good review would crystallize in my head, but that hasn't really happened. A screenshot-based review would be more appropriate, really, but even that would fail to capture the film at its best, which is when the light shifts theatrically within the shots. I really loved the use of shadows and darkness here. Even though only a small part of the film is set on stage, the kabuki visuals permeate the entire film. It's like street theater, with the moon as the spotlight, always just managing to catch the action in its silvery glow. I like this description from Martin's original review
: "Ichikawa demonstrates a masterful use of empty space, particularly black space. He exploits the widescreen scope in dazzling and unusual ways." (See here
for his rewatch review.) I didn't have the same experience with the music, however; the jazzy elements felt all wrong to me. As for the story, I really wish it had been pure noir — or, at least, purely dark and gothic, like Hangover Square
, for example. The light comedy of the thieves felt very 16th century to me, like they'd stepped out of Orlando Furioso
. That's not what I wanted from this film. Plus, as a thief, Hasegawa looked distractingly like Tony Curtis (as if his dual role wasn't distracting enough already). I imagine Kinugasa's 1935 film of this story (also starring Hasegawa) is so different as to make any comparison pointless, but I'm still sort of curious to check it out.