Tag Archives: Teinosuke Kinogasa

Un-Cannes-y Valley: Gate of Hell

You can not find a more breathlessly adventurous and rewarding a period of Japanese cinema than the golden years of 1950-1955. The number of era-defining international monsters of world cinema produced by Japan in this period is arguably unmatched in any national cinema over any five year period: Kurosawa’s The Seven Samurai, Ikiru, and Rashomon, Yaujirō Ozu’s Tokyo Story and Early Summer, Kenji Mizoguchi’s Ugetsu and Sansho the Bailiff. In this treasure-trove of embarrassing riches, Gate of Hell is usually considered an also-ran. Certainly, it qualifies as a “deep cut”, but only unfairly. Yes, it is no Tokyo Story or Ugetsu, but Gate of Hell is a stunning achievement, and it is stunning in a way that no other Japanese masterpiece from the period is. Continue reading