FILM REVIEW | LADY SNOWBLOOD
photo manipulation by nacrowe
to me TOSHIYA FUJITA's LADY SNOWBLOOD (TOHO, 1973) is the ultimate revenge film. if you've seen KILL BILL, then you will be familiar with the plot because basically this is the source material for that whole franchise. the main character here seeks revenge upon three assassins who killed her father and brother and raped her mother.
the plot to tell you the truth is not what fascinates me about this film. in fact the whole "you raped/killed my (enter female family member)" is the laziest trope in film history, which is why it is used in every terrible STEVEN SEAGAL / JEAN CLAUDE VAN DAMME / SYLVESTER STALLONE film ever.
what makes this film compelling is its choreography. in essence the delicate interplay between its camera positions and editing is what sets it apart. it is essentially a master class in effective utilizing obtuse camera angles and long and short cuts that leave the viewer anticipating the action of our heroine. i am not a big fan of actions films, but when the camera is utilized to showcase movement in a suspenseful, climactic sequence of thought-through maneuvers that embellish the intensity of a scene, then i am all in. case in point, any of the death scenes. long establishing shots are usually punctuated by quick extreme closeups of the heroine and swift cuts on action to her striking down her target. just brilliant.
the other aspect of this film i appreciate is how it turns notions of JAPANESE FEMININITY on its head. being a delicate, passive, soft-spoken flower in the context of this film are the perfect guise to prey upon unsuspecting targets. it is almost as if these behavioral tropes of a traditionally chauvinistic normative culture that are meant to guard women from undue attention and risk here ironically presents men with the opposite. not sure if this film was meant to question the validity of these gender prescriptions but it makes the case nonetheless.
it makes sense to me that this film in particular was of interest for QUENTIN TARANTINO, as he is known for watch a film multiple times just to observe and make note of sequencing and editing. i highly suggest watching this film as a companion piece to KILL BILL VOL. 1 as both utilize a similar aesthetic to how they present action and thrill us with catching us off guard with a well choreographed cut. they also both challenge the audience to reassess what makes an ideal assassin and how notions of femininity plays into that role.
this is an interesting film that is definitely worth seeking out.