Yabu no Naka no Kuroneko
1968 / 99m - Japan
Black Cat poster


February 04, 2022


Shindo is no doubt one of my favorite classic Japanese directors. I'm not a big fan of his contemporary work, the man clearly fared a lot better when he was allowed to work in black and white. Black Cat is a pretty basic kaidan/yokai film, but the moody, stylish presentation truly elevates it.

Gintoki is a simple farmer who is sent off to war, leaving his wife and mother behind. When a band of samurai passes by their house, they pillage the place, rape the women and leave them for dead, while setting the house on fire. The women return as vengeful spirits, killing whatever samurai comes their way.

Shindo is a master of contrast. The woods look mysterious and daunting, the stylistic finesse just makes everything more pronounced. The performances are a little crass and the story is simple, but that just means it doesn't get in the way of the entertaining ghost story that forms the core of this film. Good.