Monday, October 15, 2007

Sex and Fury (1973)

The lack of focus that marred Norifumi Suzuki's otherwise-awesome School of the Holy Beast rears its ugly head as well for Suzuki's kaleidoscopic female-revenge saga. I know two films in is a bit early to be making value judgements about a filmmaker's body of work, but on the evidence I have thus far, Suzuki lacks the artistic rigor of Shunya Ito, nor does he have the spark of lysergic inspiration that make Seijun Suzuki's equally digressive narratives more than trashy genre assignments. Curmudgeonly complaints aside, though, this is still enjoyably demented stuff. The peak comes early on, with an out-of-nowhere slow-motion swordfight featuring a very naked Reiko Ike defending herself in a bathhouse. Also not to be discounted is Christina Lindberg, spine-meltingly hot even when haltingly speaking in two languages she doesn't know. (Her final scene, with her body spinning and her hair flying, is pretty impressive.) The bold, eye-filling primary colors, saturated in that Japanese-'70s-cinema sort of way, give the film the air of a particularly deranged comic book, as do the myriad closeups of eyes and creative lighting schemes, and every now and then Suzuki will pause to whip out a scene like the late-film scouraging of Ike, complete with stained-glass Jesus in the background, that gives the hazy plot some much-needed oomph. Also, there is nudity, lots of fucking, etc.

Grade: B-


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