Striking, minimalist cult film about two women (an old woman and her daughter-in-law) who steal the armor and weaponry of dying samurai to feed themselves during the time of a great war in Japan. Certainly a moral movie: when the younger woman - whose husband was (apparently) killed - begins sleeping with a feisty rebel (a role that Toshiro Mifune could have very well played), it enrages the mother-in-law, inciting her to play tricks on her (the older woman's vanity and self-interest - like that of the soldier she took the mask from - comes back to poison her). Very much in the same sort-of mindset as, say, Woman in the Dunes - all three principal players are punished for their various misdoings, and looming above all of them is this very supernatural fear of demons and punishment. It's paced like Kurosawa and cautionary like Mizoguchi (who Shindo worked under for years) - a small, worthwhile find.
Director: Kaneto Shindo
Year Released: 1964