Kaneto Shindo, 1964, 107 min.
Introduction by Toshi Aoyagi, The Japan Foundation, Toronto
Onibaba is a chilling, atmospheric examination of the hot-blooded instinct for survival amidst the devastation of war.When her son Kichi goes off to war, a woman is left alone with her daughter-in-law in a cramped hut in the middle of a dark, labyrinthine swamp. Feral and desperate, the two women survive by murdering lost samurai, dumping their bodies into a deep pit and selling their armour for rice. An army deserter arrives on the scene, claiming that Kichi has died in battle. He takes a fancy to the younger woman, and soon she is slipping out into the night for secret trysts. But the elder woman is desperate to hang on to her partner in crime...
Toshi Aoyagi is the program officer of visual and performing arts at The Japan Foundation, Toronto. He is curator of the long-running Cinema Kabuki screening series in Toronto and greater Canada, and coordinates exhibitions in the JFT gallery.