Last week Monday Twitch Film revealed two of the latest acquisitions from Third Window Films and they take the form of Kiyoshi Kurosawa’s Eyes of the Spider and Serpent’s Path which will be released in the Spring of next year. OH YES!
The previous week Adam had teased his twitter followers with the question…
And now we have the answer. Eyes of the Spider and Serpent’s Path. Apparently Kiyoshi Kurosawa was offered the chance to make two low-budget films in two weeks with the same cast and so he came up with the gangster revenge films Eyes of the Spider and Serpent’s Path. Both film feature notable actors Sho Aikawa, Teruyuki Kagawa and Yurei Yanaga, all three of whom would pop up in later Kurosawa films (Aikawa had a cameo as a priest in Séance while Kagawa provided a stunning lead performance in Tokyo Sonata). In a statement to Twitch, Adam says:
Though both Eyes of the Spider and Serpent’s Path are gangster films about the desire for revenge, and both films feature a protagonist named Nijima played convincingly by Sho Aikawa, the two films are completely different in tone and plot. Nonetheless, they seem freakishly interlocked in ways that defy the conventionally linear relationship of a sequel, as each of these enigmatic, absorbing films elucidates and alters our understanding of the other.
Japanese Title: 蜘蛛 の 瞳
Romaji: Kumo no Hitomi
Release Date: 1998 (Japan)
Running Time: 89 mins.
Director: Kiyoshi Kurosawa
Writer: Kiyoshi Kurosawa
Starring: Sho Aikawa, Dankan, Ren Osugi, Sadao Abe, Susumu Terajima, Moe Sakura, Kumi Nakamura, Satoshi Kajiwara, Shun Sugata
I love the poster for this film. It is absolutely brilliant. It is so kinetic. Is that the Japanese comedian Dankan (Getting Any? Boiling Point?) that I see in the film? It wouldn’t surprise me because he has appeared in non-comedy films like Noroi: The Curse, Ju-On 2, and Kiyoshi Kurosawa’s masterful Pulse and Doppelganger to name a few.
Nijima (Aikawa) has just killed the person who murdered his daughter six years ago. Despite taking revenge, he cannot adjust to normal life. Then he runs into an old friend who introduces him to a band of Yakuza. But they are not violent enough for him and so he takes to killing people himself. Then he is approaches by the gangster who oversees his small band of Yakuza and finds out that he may be being used. What follows is a nervy tale of double-crossing and extreme violence.
Japanese Title: 蛇の道
Romaji: Hebi no Michi
Release Date: 21st February 1998 (Japan)
Running Time: 85 mins.
Director: Kiyoshi Kurosawa
Writer: Hiroshi Takahashi
Starring: Sho Aikawa, Teruyuki Kagawa, Yurei Yanagi, Shiro Shimomoto, Hua Rong Weng, Kumi Nakamura
Written by Hiroshi Takahashi, the chap who penned the screenplay for Ringu and Ringu 2, the film looks like a thriller than the above. This one also has a great poster.
When his pre-teen daughter is brutally killed, a former Yakuza tries to track them down but stumbles upon a pornography ring. He joins forces with a professor but can he take out these seedy criminals?
Both Serpent’s Path and Eyes of the Spider look great. Here is one for another of Kurosawa’s 90’s films, License to Live. Adam, if you’re reading this, get the rights to Licence to Live and release it in the UK and I’ll buy multiple copies (more than two, less than five).
I have quite the Kurosawa collection with two of his earliest films (Sweet Home, Guard from Underground), nearly all of his important titles from his supernatural period (Cure, Pulse, Séance, Retribution), one of his experimental titles (Bright Future) and the one film nearly everybody regards as a certified masterpiece of world cinema (Tokyo Sonata). There is a massive gap when it comes to his V-cinema crime films from the 90’s but thanks to Adam Torel of Third Window Films, I’m about to get my hands on them! All that will remain for me to see are his un-erotic pink films! Ahem…