Portrait of Hell
|Portrait of Hell|
|Directed by||Shirō Toyoda|
|Produced by||Tomoyuki Tanaka|
|Written by||Toshio Yasumi
Ryūnosuke Akutagawa (novel)
|Music by||Yasushi Akutagawa|
|November 18, 1969|
Portrait of Hell (地獄変 Jigoku-hen?, 1969) is a Japanese jidaigeki (period drama) film directed by Shirō Toyoda and starring Tatsuya Nakadai and Kinnosuke Nakamura. It is based on the 1918 short story Hell Screen by Ryūnosuke Akutagawa.
Horikawa demands that Yoshihide decorate the walls of his new temple with an image of Buddha, but Yoshihide refuses, insisting that he cannot paint what he does not see. In Horikawa's realm, Yoshihide can see nothing but the suffering of peasants. He creates several gruesome images that appear to have some sort of magical power. (For example, a painting of a man killed by Hosokawa's soldiers at the beginning of the film gives off the stench of a rotting corpse.) These all appall Horikawa, and he demands that the paintings be destroyed.
Ultimately, Yoshihide asks that he be allowed to portray hell on a screen for the wall of the temple, and Horikawa agrees. Yoshihide asks for one thing to be in the centre of his painting: a burning carriage with Horikawa in it. Hosokawa agrees to this, but to provide a model for the scene, he has Yoshihide's daughter, Yoshika (played by Yoko Naito), chained in the carriage. Yoshihide watches in horror as his daughter is burned alive, before going on to paint his masterpiece.
Before the completed screen is unveiled, Yoshihide hangs himself. When Hosokawa looks at the screen, he is horrified to see himself portrayed in hell. The climax of the film is slightly vague, but the audience is led to believe that Horikawa becomes trapped in his own private hell through the power of the portrait.
- Portrait of Hell at the Internet Movie Database
- Portrait of Hell at the Japanese Movie Database (Japanese)
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