This little known Shindo work is a fine film. Shindo's use of light and shade in the black and white and his framing are quite impressive. Generally I have to search for good screenshots in a film, but in this one it was hard not to take dozens.
The story is set in the period of upheaval when barbaric warlords overran the imperial government and old standards of ethics and etiquette were overwhelmed by the prerogatives of the barbarians who seized power. Court ladies were hard-pressed to find work and had to stoop to flattering those with power to find the necessities of life.
One such provincial warlord who has seized power after success in battle is our titular 'scoundrel'. His court lady is one of those fallen down from her days in the imperial court and he intimidates her to help him seduce another ex-court woman now married to a smaller lord. She is a great beauty and his lust for her consumes him. However, true love cannot be corrupted by power and lust. The resulting tragedy unfolds as the wheel of dharma turns.
The characters are all well-rounded and believable as the script and acting are excellent. Nobuko Otowa, who played the mother in both Onibaba and Kuroneko, is very strong as the complicated courtesan Jijyu. Eitarô Ozawa is about as loathsome as a scoundrel can get and still he's very human. Kyôko Kishida, the lead in Woman of the Dunes, is no less impressive in her supporting role. Shindo's reputation for fine directing is not in the least diminished by this effort. The music by Hikaru Hayashi, who worked with Shindo on virtually all his films, is also superb. There are three scenes where the 'great beauty' and her husband confirm their love where the music is simply captivating. These scenes are some of Shindo's strongest work... watch for them. All in all, for those who really appreciate the film-making craft, an enjoyable film to watch.
SOURCE & UPLOADERS NOTES:
The DVD was originaly uploaded at ADC by nipponfan. Translation from Japanese to Russian by дед_сто_лет Translation from Russian to English by cheetman @ KG The DVD I used for this rip was uploaded with the subs by chapaev also at ADC.
I did the rip half a dozen times before I was satisfied. The black and white work is really good and to get the skin tones, the dark scenes and the daylight scenes all balanced was a challenge, but I think this rip gets it pretty close to right.
Of course I reworked the subtitles and they should be good, so hopefully you'll hardly notice them.
General Complete name : Akuto.A Scoundrel.1965.Kaneto SHINDO.mp4 Format : MPEG-4 Format profile : Base Media / Version 2 Codec ID : mp42 File size : 1.60 GiB Duration : 1h 59mn Overall bit rate mode : Variable Overall bit rate : 1 929 Kbps Writing application : TMPGEnc Video Mastering Works 5 Version. 188.8.131.52