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(Yabu no naka no kuroneko / Black Cat in the Grove)
Sponsored by: Panorama-cinéma
  • Japan 1968
  • 99 min
  • 35mm
  • Japanese with English subtitles
Special launch event for the inaugural print edition of the film webzine Panorama-cinéma!



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« [...] un film à voir, absolument. Son coté sensuel et envoûtant ne peut laisser indifférent. » — HKMANIA

"Fans of current Asian horror and modern martial arthouse should find plenty to get their teeth into here" — FILM4


Director: Kaneto Shindo
Screenplay: Kaneto Shindo
Cast: Kichiemon Nakamura, Nobuko Otowa, Kiwako Taichi, Kei Sato, Hideo Kanze
Producers: Nichiei Shinsha
Print Source: Janus Films



With KURONEKO, Kaneto Shindo (CHILDREN OF HIROSHIMA, THE NAKED ISLAND, ONIBABA) created one of the major “systems” he devised throughout the 1960s. Much more indebted to Japanese folk tales than its predecessor ONIBABA, KURONEKO is a true sensory experience, an hallucinogenic trip through his country’s legends and the very strong undercurrent of ghost stories that sprang forth from his own decade. Shindo used harnesses borrowed from kabuki theatre to film his two spirits, a mother and her daughter, whose bodies were destroyed by a group of sex-starved samurais.

Japan still lived with its animist and magic myths when Shindo created his own alchemical mix of mythology and Sophocles’s “Oedipus the King”—a powerful tale playing with our very minds until its deadly climax in which a man, husband and son of these spirits, defies the katana-wielding sexual fury launched upon him. Is it his mother or his wife? Appearances are deceiving, as they can morph from human to cat form in a split-second, and our hero’s only hope is to defeat them with a single slash of his blade. Boasting some of its genre’s most brilliant shots, as well as a thumping drum-driven soundtrack that sounds like it was played by demons, KURONEKO is a deranged yet astonishing film that is also a powerful allegory of post-war Japan that brings back haunting memories of soldiers gone to the front and explores the madness and sadness of grief. One can't help but see KURONEKO as a forerunner of giallo, or to be impressed by the skills and beauty of Kiwako Taichi, a sort of Japanese Barbara Steele (of Bava, Corbucci and Margheriti fame), softly gliding from one shot to another like silk on skin.

For these many reasons, Panorama-cinéma is proud to associate itself with the Fantasia Film Festival in order to present a gorgeous 35mm print of this classic—taken straight from the Janus Films vaults! The film is presented to celebrate the launch of Panorama's first book, a reflection on Japanese cinema of the post-war period. You'll find out a lot more about Shindo in it, of course, but also Kurosawa, Mizoguchi, Ozu, Naruse, Ichikawa, Kobayashi and many more.

—Mathieu Li-Goyette (translated by Alexandre Fontaine Rousseau)

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