Double Suicide

                                                                              double suicide

Masahiro Shinoda directs this brilliant modernist reworking of a famous 1720 bunraku (puppet theatre ) play written by Chikamatsu Monzaemon. Set in Osaka , the film centers on the doomed romance between Jihei , a down and out married paper merchant passionately in love with courtesan Koharu whome he cannot afford to buy out of servitude. Their love is further hampered by Tahei , a rich ,obnoxious merchant who flaunts his ability to buy Koharu. Suicide is the only way for the two to be together. Shinoda begins the film in a modern day theater with puppeteers preparing for the show. When the story itself begins , Shinoda replaces the puppets with real actors but puppeteers’ presence remains. Figures dressed entirely in black move among the characters, helping to position them and manipulating the story. When the actual story begins, Shinoda constantly reminds the audience that they are watching a theatrical story with a predetermined outcome. Shinoda’s interiors are abstract and theatrical to the point of absurdity. Shinoda also cast his real-life wife Shima Iwashita as both the courtesan and the paper merchant’s wife. No matter where he turned ,he was stuck with the same woman. Double Suicide effectively combines the best of both worlds – the technical prowess of a master cinematician with a touching and tragic love story.

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