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Queen Bee (Jobachi)

The most recent film by Japanese master director Kon Ichikawa (The Burmese Harp, Conflagration, Fires On The Plain, An Actor's Revenge) is, according to L.A. Times film critic Kevin Thomas, “the third in a series... Ichikawa made from vintage novels by veteran murder mystery writer Masashi Yokomizo, each starring Koji Ishizaka as an amiably scruffly private eye much like Peter Falk's Columbo.

“When it comes to plotting, Yokomizo is hard to beat for sheer outrageousness. He goes in for ancient curses, long-locked rooms, family secrets and drawn-out denouements in which one surprise triggers another like a string of firecrackers going off. Ichikawa approaches all these incredibly convoluted shenanigans with a darkly comic tone that points up their absurdity only to turn it back on itself to reveal the very real, raw emotions that have perpetrated so much bloodshed and tragedy. Master director that he is, he freezes the smiles on our faces before we realize it's happening...”

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