Lady Snowblood / Shurayukihime (1973) Toshiya Fujita, Meiko Kaji, Toshio Kurosawa, Masaaki Daimon, Action, Thriller, Drama

Lady Snowblood (1973)
Yuki’s family is nearly wiped out before she is born due to the machinations of a band of criminals. These criminals kidnap and brutalize her mother but leave her alive. Later her mother ends up in prison with only revenge to keep her alive. She creates an instrument for this revenge by purposefully getting pregnant. Though she dies in childbirth, she makes sure that the child will be raised as an assassin to kill the criminals who destroyed her family. Young Yuki never knows the love of a family but only killing and revenge.

A truly classic samurai movie which not only has its fair share of pacey, exhilirating action scenes, but also a really pertinent history and cultural context. Ahead of its time in some ways, the film is structured very unconventionally, in four chapters detailing Lady Snowblood’s past and future. This is a technique Tarantino has used in his films, particularly relevantly his recent ‘Kill Bill’, which one can draw many comparisons to.

In actual fact, while the fighting may be dated slightly, and vastly bettered by Kill Bill’s insane battles, and perhaps even the Lone Cub and Wolf movies, the detail and true respect the filmmakers have put into their movie seperates it from the average schlocky exploitation feature. Isolation of the East, and cultural changes in the West set up the feeling of change and loss in the film. Lady Snowblood is fighting for someone who is already dead. Her mother watched her husband being killed before her, mistaken for a Government spy, and is subsiquently tortured and raped by the criminals. After killing one in vengeance, she becomes pregnant and gives birth during her life sentence in prison, dying in childbirth. Lady Snowblood is born a “child of vengeance”, and is forced through rigourous training throughout her early years, before eventually growing into a woman and seeking those who her mother had swore revenge on.

This story is fairly simple, run of the mill 70’s revenge movie, but it’s the flair with which the film is shot that seperates it and makes it essential viewing for all those seriously interested in film, and particularily in Tarantino’s interests. Distinctive colour schemes and handheld camera work as well as subtle performances and touching moments really make the film unique and distinctive. (Spoiler: The final death of Goshiro is particularily striking. He dies between the Japanese and American flags. This kind of flair invites much more interest than the usual violence these pictures produce).

I strongly reccomend this film, and really do regret how little exposure these kind of movies receive in the west.

“It’s fine to be concerned with justice and conscience, or upholding principles… yet, in the end, it’s all nothing more than empty words, at least in this filthy hole.”- Goshiro

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IMDB

BDRip 720p | MKV | 1280 x 546 | x264 @ 6500 Kbps | 96 min | 4,92 Gb
Audio: Japanese FLAC 2.0 @ 398 Kbps | Subs: English (embedded)
Genre: Action, Thriller, Drama

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