I’m hunting and pecking - old film prints and new Criterion disks, not a bad way to burn off the tail end of a bad month. I caught up to Hooper at last, which was satisfying after all the Buddy Joe Hooker love at ActionFest last year, but I found the film inconsequential and broad. I pushed from there to Kuroneko from the Criterion Collection, having been quite thrilled by Onibaba several years ago, but must mark Kuroneko as a disappointment. It’s beautifully photographed, and with some moments of genuinely unnerving, ghostly sensation… but does not come together into anything so fascinating as its more sensual predecessor.
Yet, days later, its images linger. For the life of me, I cannot imagine why all ghost stories aren’t shot in high contrast black and white; the inky depths, and snowy surfaces, of Kuroneko make a strong case. The photographic scheme simplifies the argument, and consolidates the power of the ghosts: there is only what is, and what isn’t; only the frame, and the effect.