Yama Onna
2022 / 100m - Japan
Mountain Woman poster


September 23, 2023


A stylish and polished Japanese period drama. It is somewhat reminiscent of Twilight Samurai, mixed with Tsukamoto's Killing, and an added touch of mysticism that gives the film its unique signature. Mountain Woman doesn't fall into the usual poverty porn traps, but a jolly film this is not. Something for the fans of arthouse cinema in other words.

A young woman grows up in a family that is looked down upon for something their great-grandfather did. All the villagers live in poverty, and when she takes the blame for stealing a little rice from the storage room, she decides to leave the village and live her life on a nearby mountain, where spirit creatures supposedly roam the forest. There she meets a mysterious man.

The cinematography is moody, the performances are strong and the pacing is slow but deliberate. The film could've used a more prominent soundtrack, the plot is a little too predictable and the couleur locale isn't quite as intriguing as suggested. In the end, there's something missing to make this a real stand-out, but fans of Japanese period dramas should definitely give it a go.