Lady Snowblood (1973) aka Shurayukihime
Genre: Action | Drama | Thriller
Country: Japan | Director: Toshiya Fujita
Language: Japanese | Subtitles: English & German (.srt files)
Aspect ratio: Cinemascope 2.35:1 | Length: 97mn
Dvdrip Xvid Avi - 977x384 - 25fps - 1.29gb
Yuki's family is nearly wiped out before she is born due to the machinations of a band of criminals. These criminals kidnap and brutalize her mother but leave her alive. Later her mother ends up in prison with only revenge to keep her alive. She creates an instrument for this revenge by purposefully getting pregnant. Though she dies in childbirth, she makes sure that the child will be raised as an assassin to kill the criminals who destroyed her family. Young Yuki never knows the love of a family but only killing and revenge.
"Shurayukihime" aka. "Lady Snowblood" of 1973 starring the incomparable Meiko Kaji is probably best known for being the inspiration for Quentin Tarantino's "Kill Bill". While I liked Tarantino's film a lot when it was playing in theaters, I do not think that "Lady Snowblood" needs this attribute, as this one ranks even way higher in my personal appreciation. Yet it is inevitable to compare the two films when one has seen both, simply because Tarantino copied so many aspects of this one. Tarantino's film has used many other inspirations from Japan (including the brilliant "Kozure Ôkami" aka. "Lone Wolf And Cub" films or Norifumi Suzuki's "Sex And Fury"), but it is "Lady Snowblood" with which the similarities are just too obvious to be overlooked. It would take too long to list all the similarities, but I can assure that there are many. Even the narrative structure was copied, and QT also used the theme song sung by Meiko Kaji for the score of his film (I see this as a tribute).
The film's eponymous heroine is played by the wonderful Meiko Kaji, THE Nr 1. goddess of Japanese Exploitation cinema (even before fellow beauties Miki Sugimoto and Reiko Ike). Kaji is best known both for this film, and the brilliant "Joshuu Sasori" (aka Female Prisoner Scorpion) films (personal favorites of mine, which I like even more than this one) in which she played the vengeful prison escapee Nami Matsushima. She plays another vengeful young woman here, and she is a delightful angel of vengeance: In 1874, a young woman gives birth to a daughter in prison. Twenty years later, Yuki, the baby girl born in prison, has become a skilled swords-woman, born and raised for the sole purpose to take revenge for the fate of her parents: Shura Yuki Hime - Lady Snowblood... Meiko Kaji is once again wonderful, and it is unthinkable for any other actress to fit in the role even nearly as perfectly as she does. The score is brilliant, most memorably the wonderful theme song sung by actress/singer Kaji herself. The film is brilliantly photographed, the wonderful cinematography as well as the sceneries and choreography hold a beauty that is surpassed only by that of the ravishing heroine herself. The film is blood-soaked from the beginning to the end, the stylish sword-battles are always accompanied by gallons of blood - "Lady Snowblood" truly shows carnage in a rarely beautiful manner. There are many more aspects to praise about "Lady Snowblood", which I will not mention here. I have seen the film three times so far, and it gets better with each viewing. "Lady Snowblood" is a great, bloody, stylish and beautiful gem that comes with my highest recommendations, and that no lover of Exploitation or Japanese cinema could possibly afford to miss!
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