316 UCB, 80309-0316
ATLAS Center 329 303-492-7574 303-492-1362
Two warriors on the run lie low in a tallgrass field. One carries the other, both are exhausted. Trampling hooves thunder on nearby roads. Concealed by the grasslands, the two swordsmen collapse as the ominous breath of galloping beasts draws further away.
Between the straws, two feline predators await. The moment of opportunity is here. Silently, they circle in on their target. Empty stomachs make the tallgrass field as perilous as any battleground, and dog-tired fighters are easy prey.
From out of nowhere, swift spears put the spent men out of their misery. As soon as their final sighs whisper, they are stripped, dragged and dropped into a dark pit in the middle of the grassland, never to be heard from again.
Compared to horror films of our age, Onibaba is a walk in the park. In 1964, however, two topless women murdering unsuspecting samurais like flies was rather controversial, to say the least.
Before long, the exploitative Onibaba got notorious. Some even argue that the provocative subject matter and the sexual undertones were a precursor to the J-horror movement in late 90s Japan.
However, Onibaba had its issues in the production department. Compared to its infamous reputation, it appears somewhat overrated. That being said, it holds up well over time. Apparently, the demonic story of desperation and lust had no expiration date.— Robin Syversen, Japanese Cinema Archives
Sat October 28, 7:30 PM, Muenzinger Auditorium
Japan, 1964, in Japanese, 105 min, 35mm
Screenplay: Kaneto Shindō, Director: Kaneto Shindō, Cast: Nobuko Otowa, Jitsuko Yoshimura, Kei Satō, Jūkichi Uno, Taiji Tonoyama