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Athena

Lady Snowblood (1973) & Lady Snowblood 2: Love Song of Vengeance (1974)

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If this is the first post you read in the Japanese sub forum we want to WELCOME you here too ! I wish I could say WELCOME TO JAPAN (!) but as most of us are spread around the Western part of the Shaolin Chamber globe this is the NEXT BEST THING !! Here we will discuss the wonders of Japanese Action Cinema... From the Kurosawa brilliant Classics like Yojimbo, to the cheesy cool modern High Kick Girl and everything inbetween !!

On the note of inbetween, I think the magnificent LADY SNOWBLOOD fits just perfect ! Not at all a "serious Classic "BUT a classic in it's ultra (cheesy )cool "that time period " look all the same !! Athena is a big FAN of both the original and it's sequel despite the former unarguably holds the winning edge of the 2...

154367_1238379576952_1753156524_432063_6120478_n.jpg

(Courtesy kinoworldpress.com)

LADY SNOWBLOOD (修羅雪姫, Shurayukihime ) has a super stylish and very sleek look. And the casting of beautiful Meiko Kaji is perfect ! Lady Snowblood was completed in 1973 and directed by talented Toshiya Fujita.

348767915_f749b74c1f.jpg?v=0

(Courtesy flicker.com)

It is based on the manga of the same name by famous writer Kazuo Koike and young artist Kazuo Kamimura. It tels the typical story of the skilled Lady Assassin in seeking vengeance upon the bandits who raped her mother and murdered her father. In 1974 the competed sequel premiered....

LadySnowblood.jpg

(Courtesy theyarenotkillers.com)

As befitted a cult classic like this, in 2001 a remake (of sorts) re-imagined into a science fiction setting was presented in THE PRINCESS BLADE !!

Princess_blade.jpg

(Courtesy wikipedia.com)

The original is not a highest class production nor does it have a deep or important message to tell.. But it's most special quality ( in Athena's opinion) is in its cool, stylish violent (almost on the point of fake ) LOOK !! To me it is a brilliant memory of the trend at that time in Japanese Cinema ,portraying violence as bloody world wind of stunning beautiful and unforgettable images !

[/glow][glow=red]"SHE KNOWS NOT THE PASSIONS OF WOMANHOOD, ONLY THE PASSIONS OF HER UMBRELLA SWORD !"

I mean WHAT is there NOT TO LOVE THERE ??!!

~Athena

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I just caught this again last week (thanks, Netflix!) and I have to say I love this movie. My wife was in the living room when I started it and it chased her out. She kept coming in to her phone, computer and other things, every time asking "Did she complete her vengeance yet?"

It should be noted that this is another fine AnimeEigo release; they do such an awesome job with the translations. I'm going to have to check out Princess Blade, now; I didn't know it existed. I also have never seen Lady Snowblood II; is it any good?

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Hello Flying Master Michael L !!
Our Kung Fu ( & Hammer :rofl ) paths seem to keep crossing my friend !

I will post some stuff for you on
LADY SNOWBLOOD II, LOVE SONG OF VENGEANCE
soon ..

But in the meantime remember this ?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CwBw4tcOya0

It is a nice homage & highlight splendidly the OBVIOUS connection between
KILL BILL & LADY SNOWBLOOD !

Re : SNOWBLOOD II it is a must see/own in my opinion !!

Nice to 'see' you as always ,~Athena

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I can't say I remember it because I have never seen Kill Bill... I am one of those people who just plain hates Quentin Tarantino movies!

Come on man, you at least gotta see Kill Bill! Just to check out Gordon Liu as the legendary Pai Mei!!! Come on Michael! :pandakungfu

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I can't say I remember it because I have never seen Kill Bill... I am one of those people who just plain hates Quentin Tarantino movies!

I understand what you are saying about QT , KILL BILL I & II is the only of his movies I have ever seen ..

BUT when it comes to KUNG FU movies I intend to SEE/LEARN & IF POSSIBLE AT ALL own THEM ALL ..From the (1928) "The Great Knight-Errant of Aviation" to KILL BILL & far beyond !! ;)

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I can't say I remember it because I have never seen Kill Bill... I am one of those people who just plain hates Quentin Tarantino movies!

I know this is an old thread but I had to jump in here all late and off topic and wholeheartedly agree with Michael. I Hate QT :devil and anything he is associated with for many different reasons. How do you celebrate and honor a genre of exploitation films? I can see making films that honor old school films and themes, but to purposely make films that further exploit the films that were exploitative of negative stereotypes??!! :swearing , that's not even satire. :angry

It is a shame that his name is used to draw people in to sell old Kung Fu films that it is felt no one would give a chance without his name backing. His backing of the version of Iron Monkey was a travesty and a cut up mess. Ok rant over!!

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Criterion seems to be preparing a Blu-Ray release of Lady Snowblood. Marc Walcow posted a few pictures from interviews he has conducted for an upcoming BD release for a title that hasn't been officially confirmed. However, the men in the photos are Kazuo Koike (who wrote the manga) and Norio Osada (screenwriter of Lady Snowblood), so that should be a pretty strong indication. Hopefully Criterion will do Lone Wolf & Cub as well...

I saw both Lady Snowblood films in 35mm a few months ago at the Meiko Kaji film fest. The first movie is amazing. I especially love the grim fairytale like atmosphere and the strong political content. You can't even imagine a film so critical on far right to be made in Japan today. And of course Meiko Kaji is fantastic in it.

The sequel is ok, but it really pales in comparison IMO. The biggest problem is that the first movie came out as such an emotionally draining experience that it just doesn't feel right to turn the main character into a wandering heroine (no matter that being true to its manga origins). The more flamboyant, less intense action scenes also reveal Kaji's weaknesses as a swordswoman. That being said, it's still a solid film and it has the same political edge as the first film.

As for Tarantino, I love Kill Bill. I don't really understand why he gets criticized for making an exploitation film that is an exploitation film. The entire genre exists for the sole reason of exploiting trends and fears, and ripping off other movies, although some films were more original and had more artistic or political ambitions than others.

And for slapping his name on DVD covers, although somewhat irritating, I think it's entirely in fans' benefit. His name sells extra copies to John Doe's, which means more money for the publisher, which means more money for restoration and new acquisitions. Same in reverse: no Tarantino on the cover, likely less profit, less money for restoration, fewer new releases.

 

 

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I recently spend time viewing the Arrow BD's of both films. Quite pleasing and very 'natural' looking transfers in my opinion, questionable if Criterion can upgrade on these. As for the second film, I was genuinely surprised how well it holds up, it surely ain't no weak-ass sequel (as it was sometimes classified). Yes, the action is more predictable and doesn't have the same shock & awe impact and Meiko Kaji's glaring weaknesses as a swordswoman were better masked in the first instalment. But I did warm to the desperately bleak and far more pronounced political subtext of the story. Understandable that people with no inkling of Japanese history can far better connect to the first film though. Anyway, quite a treat to have both of these in high def!

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Criterion could actually improve quite easily because Arrow used incorrect black levels, which resulted in blacks looking very grey. I don't know exactly what's the source of the problem but it's being discussed on many forums, and I can personally confirm, having seen not only Lady Snowblood in 35mm but also hundreds of others 70's Japanese films in 35mm, that that's not how they are supposed to look like. The blacks are supposed to be solid black indeed, not grey at all.

 

Arrow did the same mistake with Blind Woman's Curse, although they corrected it for the US release (that being said, the US disc still looks a bit too bright to me).

 

And of course, the extras. Speaking of Osada, his Number 10 Blues: Goodbye Saigon (1975/2012) still hasn't been released on DVD even in Japan.

 

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Arrow did the same mistake with Blind Woman's Curse, although they corrected it for the US release (that being said, the US disc still looks a bit too bright to me).

 

 

 

Oops, just fished the UK BD out of my mail-box the other day... :doh

Still, didn't notice the 'grey blacks' in LADY SNOWBLOOD, but didn't see the film theatrically in, like... two decades or so.

Edited by Sheng

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I can't say I remember it because I have never seen Kill Bill... I am one of those people who just plain hates Quentin Tarantino movies!

Saved me some typing. While I liked "Jackie Brown" and eventually liked parts of "Pulp Fiction" I absolutely despise Kill Bill, both versions. I didn't see it as an homage like he claims he intended, I saw it as a poorly executed ripoff of talent he will never actually possess.

 

For starters putting Uma Thurman in the Bruce Lee "Game of Death" tracksuit. Are you effin' kidding me?!? Lady Snowblood was an ok film that was mostly unique for it's female lead role, and the likelihood that it led to films like MS.45 (same movie, different time and place), but it is still a thousand times better than that Kill Bill nonsense. Tarantino understands blaxsploitation and he does it very well. I don't think he understands asian cinema at all and simply coops the look and trappings.

 

On top of that he owns the rights to Zatoichi 14, which he intended to remake but must have found out he sucks at it, so we'll probably never see the original on DVD. For that reason alone everyone should destroy their copy of Kill Bill and mail it to him.

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For starters putting Uma Thurman in the Bruce Lee "Game of Death" tracksuit. Are you effin' kidding me?!?

For "starters" you might want to look at guys like Bruce Le

Bruce%20Le.jpg

 

Bruce Li

Bruce%20Li.jpg

 

And all the others.

 

Even Tak Sakaguchi wore it

Sakaguchi.jpg

 

Again, I can only repeat my point about Tarantino doing exactly what an exploitation film is supposed to do: exploit.

 

 

On top of that he owns the rights to Zatoichi 14, which he intended to remake but must have found out he sucks at it, so we'll probably never see the original on DVD. For that reason alone everyone should destroy their copy of Kill Bill and mail it to him.

No need to destroy your copy of Kill Bill. Zatoichi 14 came out on DVD (and Blu-Ray) in the states two years ago, in Japan 12 years ago!
 
 

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For "starters" you might want to look at guys like Bruce Le

Bruce%20Le.jpg

 

Bruce Li

Bruce%20Li.jpg

 

And all the others.

 

Even Tak Sakaguchi wore it

Sakaguchi.jpg

 

Again, I can only repeat my point about Tarantino doing exactly what an exploitation film is supposed to do: exploit.

 

 

No need to destroy your copy of Kill Bill. Zatoichi 14 came out on DVD (and Blu-Ray) in the states two years ago, in Japan 12 years ago!
 
 

Yes, several "martial artists" have worn it, especially when portraying Lee. Even Taimak wore it in the last dragon. Uma Thurman had no business wearing it. I think the point I was attempting to convey didn't reach you.

 

Thanks for the heads up about Zatoichi 14.

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LADY SNOWBLOOD also got the Criterion treatment in 2016 with THE COMPLETE LADY SNOWBLOOD. This is the set to have:

https://www.criterion.com/boxsets/1154-the-complete-lady-snowblood?q=autocomplete

Disc Features

  • New 2K digital restorations of both films, with uncompressed monaural soundtracks on the Blu-rays
  • New interviews with Kazuo Koike, the writer of the manga that inspired the films, and screenwriter Norio Osada
  • Trailers
  • New English subtitle translations
  • PLUS: An essay by critic Howard Hampton

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This just showed up in an Amazon email -

Arrow Books  is publishing this book, Unchained Melody: The Films of Meiko Kaji by Tom Mes, in paperback on July 31, 2017, original price $25, lower on Amazon.   The book is also listed at http://www.arrowfilms.co.uk/shop/index.php?route=product/product&product_id=967

From Amazon - "Meiko Kaji - Queen of the Japanese Action Film! With such iconic roles as Lady Snowblood and Female Prisoner Scorpion she defined a decade of cult cinema, creating an archetype of female strength that was equal parts ferocious and mysterious. Devoting plenty of space to her star-making turns as Scorpion and Lady Snowblood, Unchained Melody: The Films of Meiko Kaji goes beyond the movies that made her name. This book traces her career from its earliest beginnings as a teen model and tomboyish basketball fanatic to Kaji's critically-lauded and versatile performances for master directors including Kinji Fukasaku and Kon Ichikawa. Author Tom Mes also investigates Kaji's acting work in television and the singing career that would eventually introduce her to a whole new, international audience as the musical cornerstone to Quentin Tarantino's Kill Bill. Tom Mes is the author of books on cult Japanese filmmakers Takashi Miike and Shinya Tsukamoto and was one of the founders of the Midnighteye website, the world's go-to website for information on Japanese cinema. Cover illustration: Nathanael Marsh."  How ironic that, according to IMDB, Meiko Kaji appears in an episode of Japanese TV mini-series, Seven Women in Prison, in 2017. 

51ThaxVXxTL._SX407_BO1,204,203,200_.jpg

Edited by whitesnake

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5 hours ago, whitesnake said:

This just showed up in an Amazon email -

Arrow Books  is publishing this book, Unchained Melody: The Films of Meiko Kaji by Tom Mes, in paperback on July 31, 2017, original price $25, lower on Amazon.   The book is also listed at http://www.arrowfilms.co.uk/shop/index.php?route=product/product&product_id=967

From Amazon - "Meiko Kaji - Queen of the Japanese Action Film! With such iconic roles as Lady Snowblood and Female Prisoner Scorpion she defined a decade of cult cinema, creating an archetype of female strength that was equal parts ferocious and mysterious. Devoting plenty of space to her star-making turns as Scorpion and Lady Snowblood, Unchained Melody: The Films of Meiko Kaji goes beyond the movies that made her name. This book traces her career from its earliest beginnings as a teen model and tomboyish basketball fanatic to Kaji's critically-lauded and versatile performances for master directors including Kinji Fukasaku and Kon Ichikawa. Author Tom Mes also investigates Kaji's acting work in television and the singing career that would eventually introduce her to a whole new, international audience as the musical cornerstone to Quentin Tarantino's Kill Bill. Tom Mes is the author of books on cult Japanese filmmakers Takashi Miike and Shinya Tsukamoto and was one of the founders of the Midnighteye website, the world's go-to website for information on Japanese cinema. Cover illustration: Nathanael Marsh."  How ironic that, according to IMDB, Meiko Kaji appears in an episode of Japanese TV mini-series, Seven Women in Prison, in 2017. 

51ThaxVXxTL._SX407_BO1,204,203,200_.jpg

I want to pick this up, not only because the subject interests me, but because I like Tom Mes' writing; his Miike books are must-reads for Japanese cinema fans.

It's currently going for £23.99 (approximately $30.94) on AmazonUK, but (as of the time of typing this) is available for the low price (about 45% off) of £12.99 (approximately $16.75) at Arrow's website: http://www.arrowfilms.co.uk/shop/index.php?route=product/product&product_id=967

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Just curious, I agree that Kaji wasn't a particularly good at handling the swords in these two films, so who was a better swordswoman in that era of Japanese cinema?

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