My Incoherent Review of Lady Snowblood

My apologies to my readers for missing a post last week. Online has become so loud and toxic that I noticed some of that negativity is showing up in the blogosphere. So, I took a short break from reading blogs and blogging to play Hollow Knight for my mental health’s sake. I was meaning to publish this review last Sunday but I had a hard time editing and polishing it up. Hopefully, my thoughts of the film make sense. Still feel that it’s not refined enough and I could elaborate more but then it will never be published!!! So here it goes…

Imagine a droplet of blood dripping one by one onto the clean white snow. Tell me what do you see? Do you see a Japanese flag? I want to say Lady Snowblood is a revenge story filled with death and bloody scenes. It is, but it’s more than that. Dig a little bit deeper, you’d find a nationalistic film that opposes western thoughts on greed and expansion. Wait…no I am simplifying it–it’s not a nationalist film, but more about corruption from outside influences. You can draw xenophobia from this film. However, I think most people would agree that corrupted officials can make a country bleed when money is involved. I wonder though… is money the root of all evil? Money is only as evil as the person who wields the weapon. That’s just my two cents as an outsider. Despite my opinion, I enjoyed the film for its artistic and poetic aspects. I like the color choices. You see the color red and white throughout the film which are used to enhance the revenge plot. If you are not familiar with the plot, it’s about a young lady who was born to avenge the death of her mother’s husband and her half-brother (Wikipedia summarized the plot incorrectly).

In the opening of the film, we see snow falling outside the window’s cell while female prisoners dressed in red, huddling together around a woman who has just given birth to a baby girl named Yuki, starring Meiko Kaji, the female protagonist. Instantly, I feel the coldness of the plot aligning with Yuki’s character. Another scene where the color red and white are used is when her mother’s husband gets stabbed in broad daylight for wearing a white suit. According to the pheasants, people in white suits are pawns of the government. The scene is so dramatic that it left an impression on me. Blood starts squirting and spilling onto the husband’s perfectly white suit in a flash. Moments ago, I saw a happy family taking a lovely walk in the woods. It’s a powerful scene along with the raging waves of the blue ocean. Like the flick of the Katana, everything is so sharp and happens quickly. Each scene and shot fall into perfect sync. I also like how Yuki drifts like a snowflake in the cold winter’s air, slaughtering the bad guys in the name of justice. More than anything, I empathize with the strong female lead taking justice into her hands with a blade! Karma can define one’s destiny. In Yuki’s case, she was born for revenge. She was born to avenge for the powerless people who are made to suffer under the hands of greedy officials. Overall, it’s a nice revenge film with a subtle hint of political criticism.

P.S.

I couldn’t find a decent trailer for this film, but it’s worth getting the Criterion Collection. It’s one of those films you’d want to watch over and over because it’s just that pretty.

I Love Beauty and the Beast

A few years ago, I went to see a play to support a co-worker who was one of the performers. Money gained from the play was then given to charity. Not a bad idea to support creative folks and give back to the community.

Assuming you are not familiar with Beauty and the Beast, it’s a tale about a narcissistic prince who denies a shaggy old lady into the palace.  As a punishment, he turns into his true form: a beast! To undo the spell, he must learn to love and have love return to him. That’s the only way to be human again.

When I was a kid, I don’t like fairy-tale stories all that much compared to my peers. My first exposure to the fairy tale was the Walt Disney animated version. I remember out of the Walt Disney films, this was my least favorite. Why you may wonder?  The depth of this film is just too hard for a child to grasp.

As I became wiser through age, I discovered the beast is not gendered specific because the beast is a metaphor for one of the ugliest traits found in human beings, and that is conceit!  The moral of the tale is you shouldn’t deny someone based on their appearance. Doesn’t it sound like it is saying don’t be prejudiced?  Both the Prince and Belle had to learn that moral lesson together.

There are several Beauty and the Beast versions like the picture book below.

Beauty and the Beast

This version is different from the play as it highlights that inner beauty is found within, and beautiful women do fall in love with “unattractive” men.  After all, attractiveness is really in the eye of the beholder.  I believe Leo Tolstoy mentioned something similar to that in Anna Karenina.

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Finally, there is Belle et la Bete (1946) directed by Jean Cocteau. This film is incredibly well done for being black and white. Out of the Beauty and the Beast versions, this one tops it all as it has so many symbolisms and topics you can extract from. This is my favorite version because it has a strong thesis about how humans cannot fall in love with a beast despite its good nature and there is a good reason why.