HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
 
Newest Reviews
American Fiction
Poor Things
Thunderclap
Zeiram
Legend of the Bat
Party Line
Night Fright
Pacha, Le
Kimi
Assemble Insert
Venus Tear Diamond, The
Promare
Beauty's Evil Roses, The
Free Guy
Huck and Tom's Mississippi Adventure
Rejuvenator, The
Who Fears the Devil?
Guignolo, Le
Batman, The
Land of Many Perfumes
Cat vs. Rat
Tom & Jerry: The Movie
Naked Violence
Joyeuses Pacques
Strangeness, The
How I Became a Superhero
Golden Nun
Incident at Phantom Hill
Winterhawk
Resident Evil: Welcome to Raccoon City
Maigret Sets a Trap
B.N.A.
Hell's Wind Staff, The
Topo Gigio and the Missile War
Battant, Le
Penguin Highway
Cazadore de Demonios
Snatchers
Imperial Swordsman
Foxtrap
   
 
Newest Articles
3 From Arrow Player: Sweet Sugar, Girls Nite Out and Manhattan Baby
Little Cat Feat: Stephen King's Cat's Eye on 4K UHD
La Violence: Dobermann at 25
Serious Comedy: The Wrong Arm of the Law on Blu-ray
DC Showcase: Constantine - The House of Mystery and More on Blu-ray
Monster Fun: Three Monster Tales of Sci-Fi Terror on Blu-ray
State of the 70s: Play for Today Volume 3 on Blu-ray
The Movie Damned: Cursed Films II on Shudder
The Dead of Night: In Cold Blood on Blu-ray
Suave and Sophisticated: The Persuaders! Take 50 on Blu-ray
Your Rules are Really Beginning to Annoy Me: Escape from L.A. on 4K UHD
A Woman's Viewfinder: The Camera is Ours on DVD
Chaplin's Silent Pursuit: Modern Times on Blu-ray
The Ecstasy of Cosmic Boredom: Dark Star on Arrow
A Frosty Reception: South and The Great White Silence on Blu-ray
You'll Never Guess Which is Sammo: Skinny Tiger and Fatty Dragon on Blu-ray
Two Christopher Miles Shorts: The Six-Sided Triangle/Rhythm 'n' Greens on Blu-ray
Not So Permissive: The Lovers! on Blu-ray
Uncomfortable Truths: Three Shorts by Andrea Arnold on MUBI
The Call of Nostalgia: Ghostbusters Afterlife on Blu-ray
Moon Night - Space 1999: Super Space Theater on Blu-ray
Super Sammo: Warriors Two and The Prodigal Son on Blu-ray
Sex vs Violence: In the Realm of the Senses on Blu-ray
What's So Funny About Brit Horror? Vampira and Bloodbath at the House of Death on Arrow
Keeping the Beatles Alive: Get Back
   
 
  Zatoichi's Pilgrimage Ichi gets introspective
Year: 1966
Director: Kazuo Ikehiro
Stars: Shintarô Katsu, Michiyo Yasuda, Kunie Tanaka, Hisashi Igawa, Masao Mishima, Jotaro Senba, Ryutaro Gomi, Isao Yamagata, Saburo Date, Jun Katsumura, Masako Morishita, Manabu Morita
Genre: Drama, Action, Martial Arts, AdventureBuy from Amazon
Rating:  7 (from 1 vote)
Review: While a boat-load of passengers listen to a braggard (Kunie Tanaka) recount a racy story about the time he supposedly saved a woman from rape, an unscrupulous pickpocket steals a man's wallet. Caught in the act, he bullies and beats the terrified travelers who cower in fear. Until Zatoichi the blind swordsman (Shintarô Katsu) cuts off the thief's hand and tells him to stop acting like a dick. Arriving in the Serigazawa region Ichi prays at the local temple, urging the gods to keep him from having to kill again. Alas, only moments later Ichi is attacked by Eigoro (Hisashi Igawa) whom he dispatches with swift ease albeit no small regret. Curious as to why a complete stranger wanted him dead, Ichi follows Eigoro's horse home only to have Okichi (Michiyo Yasuda), the dead man's beautiful sister, try to stab him too. Instantly remorseful when Ichi refuses to defend himself, Okichi shelters the blind swordsman and nurses him back to health. Whereupon Ichi takes Eigoro's place protecting Okichi from a brutal yakuza gang out to take over the town.

Also known as Zatoichi's Ocean Voyage, Zatoichi's Pilgrimage is another solid entry in the long-running chanbara series. Kazuo Ikehiro, a veteran of chanbara films from the early Sixties all the way to the present day (though he was also active in contemporary action thrillers and even directed episodes of cult TV show Monkey! (1979)), returns to the fold having previously directed Zatoichi and the Chest of Gold (1964) and Zatoichi's Flashing Sword (1964). Ikehiro's exquisite framing wedded to the luminous cinematography of D.P. Senkichiro Takeda brings a uniquely epic scope to this particularly outing for the sightless swordsman, halfway between Akira Kurosawa and spaghetti western maestro Sergio Leone. However, the most notable presence behind the scenes is scripter Kaneto Shindo who, when he wasn't penning scripts for feted filmmakers from Kon Ichikawa to Tadashi Imai, was a major auteur in his own right. Best known for his sensual supernatural horror films Onibaba (1964) and Kuroneko (1968), Shindo remained an active, relevant force in Japanese cinema right up till his death at age 100 in 2012.

Much as Shindo's most celebrated films foregrounded a strong social conscience, e.g. Children of Hiroshima (1952), Lucky Dragon Number 5 (1959), the fourteenth entry in the Zatoichi series is characterized by a contemplative, near-existential mood. The film finds Ichi at his most pensive and introspective, wracked with regret for each life he has taken and so haunted by blood-stained hands he gently rebuffs a potential love interest. Low on action for the most part, even though Ikehiro pulls off numerous near-silent sequences with gripping suspense, the lengthy build-up pays off with a fairly perfunctory finale albeit visceral and well staged. At this stage Zatoichi was a more vulnerable and less superhuman yet when he takes on an entire army single-handed the outcome is never in doubt. Swaggering, gravel-voiced Isao Yamagata makes for a memorably menacing and cocky adversary as yakuza Boss Tohachi. However Shindo's touch is evident in the cynical and subtly satirical portrait of the cowardly and self-serving villagers. Led by serenely smiling pacifist Gonbei (Masao Mishima) whose manipulations in some ways leave him looking like the film's true villain.

Later entries gave Ichi's libido a workout, but Zatoichi's Pilgrimage revolves around a tender, well-developed romance that proves genuinely sweet and engaging. Michiyo Yasuda's Okichi is a pleasingly gutsy and outspoken foil for Ichi and the plot charts the evolution of their relationship from hostile to romantic with some heartfelt and nuanced drama. Many of which unusually involve Okichi pranking the blind hero relentlessly! Including a mildly racy scene where she takes advantage of Ichi's blindness to disrobe in front of him for a dip in the lake. Interestingly Zatoichi's Pilgrimage also features a dream sequence in which Ichi recalls playing on the beach as a sighted child. Which contradicts entries both earlier and later that insist he was born blind. Hmm.


Reviewer: Andrew Pragasam

 

This review has been viewed 1721 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 
Review Comments (0)


Untitled 1

Login
  Username:
 
  Password:
 
   
 
Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.
   

Latest Poll
Which star probably has psychic powers?
Laurence Fishburne
Nicolas Cage
Anya Taylor-Joy
Patrick Stewart
Sissy Spacek
Michelle Yeoh
Aubrey Plaza
Tom Cruise
Beatrice Dalle
Michael Ironside
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
  Louise Hackett
Darren Jones
Mark Le Surf-hall
Andrew Pragasam
Enoch Sneed
Mary Sibley
Graeme Clark
  Desbris M
   

 

Last Updated: