Based on a story by Kyoka Izumi, Kageroza is Seijun Suzuki's even more erotic and enigmatic follow-up to Zigeunerweisen (see November 19). Set in 1926, at the cusp of the Taisho and Sh owa eras, it concerns a playwright who is obsessively in love with the wife of a businessman, and drawn to a ghost who is her close physical counterpart. Izumi “rebelled against the tide of ‘westernization' that swept Japan in the Meiji and Taisho eras by looking back to times when Japanese culture was more ‘pure'-whereas Suzuki goes even further here than he did in Zigeunerweisen into precisely those areas of cultural ‘impurity' that so appalled the author. Kageroza also goes further into the hallucinatory space between reality and fantasy, not by piling on special visual effects but by making the characters' uncertainties the very foundation of the story. This movie may well be Suzuki's finest achievement outside the constraints of genre filmmaking” (Tony Rayns).

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