8/10 | 12.Mar.12
Yukinojô henge | 雪之丞変化 | An Actor’s Revenge
Kon Ichikawa: 1963
AN ACTOR’S REVENGE (“Yukinojô henge”, 1963) is, according to one of IMDb’s crack professional critics, “both visually stunning and profoundly affecting. The director has fashioned such a truly lovely movie that the viewer cannot help but be so enthralled by the experience of watching it that he is made to feel all the anger and sadness of its characters with a terrible poignancy.”
Visually stunning? Absolutely. Profoundly affecting? Um, not in the way this guy thinks. AN ACTOR’S REVENGE is a deliriously over-the-top, hilariously stylized satire of Japanese kitsch melodrama. Kazuo Hasegawa plays dual roles: he’s the famous onnagata (male actress in Kabuki theater) Yukinojô, a heterosexual drag performer never out of drag, who’s out to avenge her parents’ deaths at the hands of a corrupt warlord and two scummy merchants, and he’s also Yamitaro, a Robin Hood-like character who often stands aside and comments on the cartoonish action we’ve just seen.
There are so many delightful things here, starting with the screenplay which is cliché piled on cliché, and continuing to the hilarious soundtrack (traditional Japanese folk melodies to bubblegum jazz-lite to saccharine strings straight out of a Mantovani album), to the staging of most of the film as if it actually were on stage in a theater, to the hopped-up cinematography, to the exaggerated acting, but what really stands out is the seduction scene between Yukinojô, a beefy but wildly effeminate 50-ish man in a kimono and geisha wig, and Namiji, the beautiful daughter of the evil warlord Yukinojô is seeking revenge on. 8/10. A really high 8. [3/13/12]
I guess I shouldn’t have referred to Yukinojô as a “she” since the character is only taken to be female from a distance or on stage and there’s no question that he is heterosexual.
March 13 at 11:40am · Like
Arne Adolfsen Kazuo Hasegawa comes across as sort of like Charles Busch in this and if I closed my eyes his voice was uncannily like Bette Davis’s in WHAT EVER HAPPENED TO BABY JANE when Jane is trying to be nice.
March 13 at 11:44am · Like
Arne Adolfsen I’m being mean, but I can’t resist linking to the critic who misinterprets this movie so completely that I’m now thinking he’s pulling our legs.
An Actor’s Revenge (Yukinojo Henge)
summary and review of An Actor’s Revenge (Yukinojo Henge)
March 13 at 12:53pm · Like ·
Arne Adolfsen ”Seeking revenge”? Um. Vengeance.
March 14 at 1:39pm · Like