Fifth about The Seventh

Gate of Hell (Jigokumon)

Gate of Hell: there is not a wasted moment in this Teinosuke Kinugasa’s tragic drama; every scene drives towards the ending without any diversion or shortcuts. It’s not easy to sympathize with the main character as he plunges into his obsession, however, and all the other characters that surround him are not fleshed out enough to warrant much interest. Kazuo Hasegawa portrays the downward spiral well; Machiko Kyô is fine as the object of said obsession; it is, however, Isao Yamagata that deserves more praises for his sympathetic acting. The film is gorgeous: Kôhei Sugiyama’s framing is rigorous (even if the night scenes are a bit overlit), and the costume design (by Shima Yoshizane) is fantastic, visually impressive on its details and very colorful, allowing the station of the characters to be distinguished.

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