Shirô Toyoda – Jigokuhen AKA Portrait of Hell (1969)

29f7c043f76a2bde437fd0d52a185152

Synopsis:
A rebellious Korean artist tests the limits of his sadistic patron, an omnipotent feudal Japanese lord. Yoshihide demands a commission to paint screens of the Hell which he sees the egotistical lord’s peasants suffer. Such a public display will challenge the uncaring upper class’ obsession with their own personal beauty. With Chinese and Buddhist influences at a peak in 11th century Japan, the daimyo Horikawa wanted a mural of Buddhist paradise. As Yoshihide’s ghastly artworks appear to come to life, the painter and his patron’s mutual racism also take their toll. Continue reading

Piero Vivarelli – Satanik (1968)

29f7c043f76a2bde437fd0d52a185152

Synopsis
A withered old hag turns into a beautiful young woman after drinking a youth formula.

Review (thanks to k_t_t2001@ imdb)
A faithful adaptation of the fumetti neri
The level of success of SATANIK as a film is entirely dependant upon the audience viewing it. An audience expecting something along the lines of OPERAZIONE PAURA or CASTLE OF BLOOD will be disappointed. This isn’t a horror film. Even an audience expecting a giallo in the Argento / Fulci tradition is bound to be dissatisfied by the lack of creative violence and relatively mild gore. In 1968 the target audience for this film were the readers of the hugely successful fumetti neri that had already led to popular cinematic spin-offs of DIABOLIK and KRIMINAL. When viewed in this light, SATANIK becomes a much more successful, though no better, film. Continue reading

Pere Portabella – Nocturno 29 (1968)

29f7c043f76a2bde437fd0d52a185152

Synopsis:
A woman walks by her home and finally takes a shower – She buy colored fabrics in a trade. A man visiting a post office – Succession of scenic pictures and semi-autonomous fading almost always unexpected. A series of situations or suite, though apparently unrelated, revolve around a thematic development that gives body and drive the story without resorting to the use of an anecdote as plot continuity. Continue reading

Tai Katô – Mabuta no haha AKA The Mother He Never Knew (1962)

29f7c043f76a2bde437fd0d52a185152

Synopsis:
The protagonist Chujiro, who possesses many attractive qualities, is a victim of unkind circumstances: his mother abandoned him as a child, so he had no choice but to live outside society. Even so, he grows up determined to reunite with her. Worried that she might be living in misery, he saves his money to help, only to find that she has married into wealth and social position and has no intention of seeing her outcast Yakuza son… Continue reading