Jigoku (Hell)

Photos from Jigoku (Hell) – Nobuo Nakagawa, 1960. I don’t want to say too much about Jigoku. There is much to be said and I’m certain I’ll revisit its narrative structure and characterizations down the road (it seems to serve as a primitive template for the 2 act structure used in Miike’s Audition, a favorite of mine as you may know). Instead, I want these images to stand on their own as testaments to one of the most unique visual experiences I’ve had in film. Often stunning, occasionally unsettling, and always original, Nakagawa’s landscapes bring Hell to life with a bristling vividness not often achieved in shock films. Jigoku is an assault on the senses, bombarding the viewer with disorienting cuts, loud noises, eerie music, and plentiful gore (outdated though it may be). Its story is not always gripping or coherent, but it is worth sitting through for some truly virtuoso visual work.

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