Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Lady Snowblood, Vengeance: A Dish Best Served Cold

The driving philosophy of 1973's "Lady Snowblood," is that white snow does not represent purity, rather purity is symbolized when that white snow is stained red with blood.  When asked what motivates us, most of us would answer family, love, God, justice, or freedom.  If you want to sober up a crowd, when this query is posed, answer...."vengeance."  This film, from Japan, introduces us to a protagonist motivated purely by vengeance....and the results are quite bloody.  This work inspired Quentin Tarantino's "Kill Bill" films.  Meiko Kaji plays Yuki, a character who inflicts more gory killings than Freddy Krueger and Jason combined.
The plot:  In 1894 a girl, Yuki, is born in a Tokyo prison.  Yuki's mom, before she dies, proclaims to her daughter "You were born for vengeance...a child of the netherworlds."  The mom was sent to prison for knifing to death the gangster who orchestrated her husband's bloody murder.  The perpetrating gang then gang raped her for three days before one claimed her for his concubine....   Once in prison, this woman has relations with every prison guard so that she may get pregnant, and set her offspring onto a voyage of revenge to kill the other gang members responsible for her husband's murder and the rape.  Through twisted circumstances, Yuki is raised by a grand-master and taught to kill.  At the age of 20, she is the perfect killing machine, and sent on her way to track down the fiends that victimized her mother.  
Clad in white, armed with an umbrella, sword, and knife, Yuki tracks down the evil culprits.  Her prey have no idea who she is, and when one asks her, she replies "revenge."  Next she finds Banzo, a pathetic figure who is about to be finished off by evil gamblers.  Yuki pays off Banzo's debts, just so she can kill him.  Now a newspaper writer begins chronicling Yuki's story in the newspaper, so the next victims are expecting her.  No matter, this is the perfect killing machine, bred for only one task.  As powerful and capable as the remaining fiends are, Yuki is never at a disadvantage.  She is imperfections, such as love, mercy, and compassion.  
The people Yuki kills are pure evil, with no redeeming qualities.  In this movie vengeance is a sweet dish.  In the world we live, evil thrives as justice systems answer it with compassion and understanding.  In "Lady Snowblood," evil is sent whimpering.  Perhaps Yuki's mother realized that evil must be defeated, not reasoned with, in order to better society.  The blood spurts, limbs fly, and evil falls.  I found this a refreshing film, and quite possibly an inspiration to all the good people our governments have failed.  From Japan, see "Lady Snowblood."   

1 comment:

  1. I have always enjoyed revenge films (which is funny because in my personal life I never think of vengeance, perhaps because I have a short memory) but vengeance by proxy seems kind of sad. It looks, though, as if the images in this movie are quite striking and I do love seeing a woman kick ass.