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Lady Snowblood (1973)

A strikingly beautiful young woman is trained from birth to be a deadly instrument of revenge against the swindlers who destroyed her family. (NR, 97 min.)


Tuesday, May 28, 2024

7:00 PM

Free for Members

Gory revenge is raised to the level of visual poetry in Toshiya Fujita’s stunning Lady Snowblood. A major inspiration for Quentin Tarantino’s Kill Bill saga, this endlessly inventive film, set in late nineteenth-century Japan, charts the single-minded path of vengeance taken by a young woman (Meiko Kaji) whose parents were the unfortunate victims of a gang of brutal criminals. Fujita creates a wildly entertaining action film of remarkable craft, an effortless balancing act between beauty and violence.

Starring: Meiko Kaji, Toshio Kurosawa, Masaaki Daimon
Director: Toshiya Fujita
Language: Japanese
Genre(s): Action, Crime, Drama

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"Through a series of shocking, angry flashbacks, to the striking, unexpectedly emotive final shot, this is beautifully controlled, almost sedate action cinema."

— Staff, Time Out

"Stylishly shot and full of blood spraying from slashed necks, shoulders and stomachs, Lady Snowblood is a thoroughly enjoyable and arty exploitation flick which has deservedly gone on to become a cult hit."

— Ben Nicholson, Cinevue

"Even a passive comparison of Tarantino’s work and the first Lady Snowblood film betrays that it had a significant effect on the filmmaker. The film’s non-linear storytelling, morally uncertain characters, freeze-frame character introductions and vivid chapter titles are all hallmarks of Tarantino’s movies."

— Russ Fischer, Indiewire

"A pulpy, violent tale of revenge based on a comic serialized in a popular Playboy-esque men’s magazine, Lady Snowblood didn’t have to be art. But director Toshiya Fujita treated it as such, utilizing a complicated flashback structure and expressionistic cinematography to tell the story of Yuki Kashima, a highly skilled assassin trained from birth to find and kill the men (and woman) responsible for murdering her father and raping her mother before she was born."

— Katie Rife, The A.V. Club

"If the story is simple, the aesthetic is anything but. The first film pushes low-budget ingenuity to the cusp of experimentation, using paintings and still photographs to fill in historical and narrative context, as well as panels from Kazuo Koike's original manga to increase scenes of action. Fujita's direction alternates between carefully composed, mostly static images and rawer, handheld takes of characters in motion."

— Jack Cole, Slant

"An aria of arterial spray, gushing in myriad patterns against a variety of white fabrics. It takes Jean-Luc Godard's tossed off comment that the blood in Pierrot Le Fou (1965) is 'Not blood' but 'red' to its logical conclusion, a festival of artfully composed throat-slittings and torso hackings. Blood spits out of human bodies like when Mentos are dropped into a bottle of Diet Coke. It frames killing as pure artifice, executed with impassive grace by the beautiful Meiko Kaji."

— R. Emmet Sweeney, Streamline