Ten Dark Women

Kuroi junin no onna

dir. Kon Ichikawa

TIFF Cinematheque - Retrospective

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The wife and nine mistresses of a feckless television executive conspire to murder their mutual paramour in Kon Ichikawa's pitch-black comedy.
One of the great discoveries of our Kon Ichikawa retrospective returns after more than a decade's absence from North American screens. This glistening noir send-up has a great title and an even better premise: tired of his weakness and self-absorption, the wife and nine mistresses (including Keiko Kishi) of a television executive (Eiji Funakoshi) band together to get rid of him-and take pleasure in letting the clueless philanderer know of their plans. ("Why do you want to kill me? I just don't understand," asks the simpering husband of his vengeful wife; "That's why we want to kill you!" she retorts.) Ichikawa has great fun playing with genre — the exaggerated noir stylistics of the opening sequence, as the women track each other through the urban night, are delightful — and taking swipes at television, the "new" Japanese male, and the sanctity of tradition. Music courtesy of Hajime Hana and the Krazy Kats!