The Mad Fox (1962)

TOM UCHIDA

Bil’s rating (out of 5):  BBBBB

Original title:  Koiya Koi Nasuna Koi

Alternate title:  Love, Thy Name Be Sorrow

Japan, 1962.  Toei Kyoto.  Screenplay by .  Cinematography by .  Produced by .  Music by .  Production Design by .  Film Editing by .  

Gorgeous fantasy film about a medieval astrologer who predicts possible danger to the imperial court of Kyoto, without specifying whether harm will come to the current emperor or his son. The answer, he says, is written on a scroll that only his successor can decipher; then he dies suddenly without naming a successor between his two disciples. His conniving wife steals the scroll with one of the disciples (with whom she has been having an affair), killing her adopted daughter and, through a series of convoluted circumstances, rendering the other follower banished from his home. Now mad with grief over the dead young woman whom he loved dearly, the young man finds himself in the home of his loved one’s original family, whose other daughter was twin to the dead girl. There are also some very helpful enchanted foxes in the woods who are able to take on the form of humans and who step in to help our hero recover his wits. Scintillating colours pour at you from every frame in this heartfelt little tale that never goes anywhere expected; director Tomu Uchida has created a lovely fairy tale with a heart of gold, ably brought to life by Michiko Saga doing a brilliant job with three different roles that she plays with distinct precision. The last third, which plays out like theatre on film, is genius.

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