Tuesday, April 08, 2014

BLIND BEAST (1969) - Yasuzo Masumura

You couldn't find a more apropos film for this month's theme ("Arty/Kinky"). A blind sculptor, posing as a masseur who makes house-calls, chloroforms and kidnaps a fashion model and takes her to back his lair. It's basically an installation art space filled with seeing eye sculptures, drooping tongue wall collages and, of course, gigantic papier-mâché breasts. Did I mention he lives with his mother? Better yet, do I need to? It is the tail end of the '60s. Psycho had already been out for a decade and Freudian theory in circulation for at least a good 50 years.

Yet, this twisted psychosexual fable feels fresh coming by way of Japan under Masumura's groovy lens. You're not surprised when Mother (Noriko Sengoku) grows jealous of her son's new in-house nude study or when the model (Mako Midori) develops a simultaneous case of Stockholm Syndrome and mommy envy. You may, however, be slightly thrown when she asks her new blind beau to hack off both of her arms. Masumura also directed the second film in the wonderful (and equally warped) Hanzo the Razor series. After seeing this perverse little gem, I may need to check out more of his work.

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