Director – Tomu Uchida – 1962 – Japan – Cert. PG – 109m
On MUBI from Tuesday, April 4th; also Amazon Prime (rental) and Arrow Channel
The second Tomu Uchida film to receive a Blu-ray release after the black and white Bloody Spear At Mount Fuji (1955) is the colour The Mad Fox a.k.a. Love, Thy Name Be Sorrow (1962). This extraordinary and arresting Heian period (794-1185) fantasy drama involves an astrologer, his adopted daughter, her wicked stepmother, the two women’s lovers, the daughter’s identical twin sister and a family of shape-shifting fox spirits. Contrasting heavily with the earlier samurai road movie using Mount Fuji as an excuse to block a road for a picnic, The Mad Fox again invokes the iconic volcano in a far more active role as it threatens to erupt, presaging a time of great chaos. The film, meanwhile, makes judicious use of Toei’s animation wing, lending out staff to provide integrated effects.
The opening five minutes set the tone, via a lengthy voice-over detailing the plot’s setup to a calm, tranquil music score, while a scroll is unrolled and the camera pans steadily along its portrayed landscape.
I review The Mad Fox for All The Anime.… Read the rest