Gate Of Hell

1015. GATE Of HELL (1953-Japan). COLOR. With machiko kyo. Directed by TEINOSUKE kinUGASa. One Of the most acclaimed masterworks in cinema history, this dazzling color production won the Academy Award as Best Foreign Language Film and the Grand Prize Of the Cannes Film Festival. Employing exquisite imagery, it tells a spellbinding tale Of passion, romance, violence and honor in 12th-ceniury Japan. During a tumultuous rebellion against the ruling Taira Clan, a palace noblewoman, Kesa (Machiko Kyo, the memorable beauty Of “Rashomon,” “Ugetsu” and many other films) impersonates the Empress so that the latter can flee to safety. Moritoh, a samurai who has refused to join his traitorous brother in the revolt, rescues Kesa from rebels, and falls in love with her. When the battles are over and the Taira Clan has re-established its power, Moritoh claims Kesa as the reward for his loyalty. Even when he learns that she is happily married, he persists in his obsession for her. Proving his worth by defeating the husband in a thrilling horse race, Moritoh tells Kesa that unless she submits to him, he will kill his rival. This leads to a haunting conclusion Of sacrifice and tragedy. With shots composed as delicately as Japanese paintings, movements carefully attuned to the stylized rhythms Of Noh drama, and lavish production values, this brilliant and exciting film has richly earned its praise. Peter Cowie, in Seventy Years Of Cinema, called it “one Of the most beautiÂful… films-a feudal story unfolded with a formal grace and intensity that escape all but the greatest Japanese directors.” In Japanese with English subtitles. 84 minutes. Drama