Lady Snowblood

Film
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This female-fronted 1974 samurai epic was re-released in London cinemas around the time of Tarantino’s ‘Kill Bill’, and it’s easy to see why: with its graceful, emotionless heroine, revenge narrative and crisp, thrilling action scenes, it’s an acknowledged precursor to that populist genre mash-up.

But, inevitably, this is a far more interesting film: based on ’70s manga strip ‘Shurayuki-hime’, it’s the story of Yuki (named for the Japanese word for snow), born of rape and raised to wreak vengeance on those who murdered her father and destroyed her mother. The story is simple but the imagery more than compensates: from the tragic-beautiful opening – Yuki’s mother dies in childbirth (and in prison) as white flakes drift peacefully by the barred windows – through a series of shocking, angry flashbacks, to the striking, unexpectedly emotive final shot, this is beautifully controlled, almost sedate action cinema.

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Release details

Duration: 97 mins

Cast and crew

Director: Toshiya Fujita
Cast: Meiko Kaji
Toshio Kurosawa
Masaki Daimon
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