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Blind Beast Blu-ray Review

“Blind Beast” is one warped movie.

1969’s “Blind Beast” revolves around a fashion model named Aki that works with a famous photographer (Mr. Yamana). One day she stops by his art exhibition and sees a man groping a statue of her. She flees the scene but later encounters him again when he shows up at her home as a masseuse. The man (who goes by the name Michio) turns out to be blind and is more than a little obsessed with her. With the help of his mother, Michio drugs and kidnaps AKi and brings her to his studio warehouse. Michio wants to create a sculpture of her and vows to hold her captive until she does so. Aki tries to escape at first, but finds herself falling into a very unusual relationship with her captor.

Directed by Yasuzo Masumura, the Yoshiro Shirasaka scripted erotic-horror Japanese movie is based on a story by Edogawa Rampo. To say this movie is not for everyone is an understatement. It’s a disturbing tale about art, obsession, pleasure, and sex that contains giant body sculpts, a creepy mother-son dynamic, stockholm syndrome, S&M, rape and death. It’s not as graphic as one would think, but it is overtly psychological to a haunting degree.

Perhaps the most intriguing aspect of “Blind Beast” is that you will likely have no idea where this movie is going. It starts off as an unsettling story about a captive woman that explores the dynamic between an artist and the artist’s subject but then it takes a complete left turn and starts exploring concepts of sex, pain, and pleasure. I won’t go into detail about what all happens, but the shocking and abrupt turn makes it feel like another movie entirely. It feels like a rushed switch that is not entirely convincing narratively, but it does change the movie in a fascinating way.

Personally, I’m still not entirely sure what to make of this movie as a whole. It’s an admirable, ambitious, original, envelope pushing story that explores a great many adult subject matters, but at the same time, it’s also an unpleasant, sadistic, twisted story that arguably discriminates against blind people and women and or exploits them. Make of that as you will.

Video/Audio:

Presentation: 2.35:1 1080p. How does it look? Unfortunately, the fuzzy, blotchy transfer resembles that of a poor DVD copy.

Audio Track: Uncompressed Japanese Mono. How does it sound? The audio fares better here. This is a crisp Mono track.

Extras:
* “Blind Beast” original trailer
* A booklet featuring photos, credits, an essay by film scholar/editor/writer Virginie Selavy, Yasuzo Masumura filmography
* Image gallery
* An intro by Japanese film expert Tony Rayns
* “Blind Beast: Masumura The Supersensualist”- A video essay by Edogawa Rampo expert Seth Jacobowitz.
* Commentary by Asian Cinema scholar Earl Jackson. Stilted, but informative.

August 21, 2021 - Posted by | Blu-Ray review | , , , , ,

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