Film Scouts Reviews

"Unagi (The Eel)"

by David Sterritt

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Aside from the Godard videos, my favorite as of now is "The Eel," less savage than Shohei Imamura's most celebrated works ("Vengeance Is Mine," "The Insect Woman") yet far livelier than the overrated "Black Rain" he gave us almost a decade ago in his last Cannes outing. The accurately titled tale of a man and his fishy friend, it focuses on a reformed wife-killer and eel-fancier who gets mixed up with a schizoid new girlfriend and a diverse lot of acquaintances who hang around his new barber shop. The story takes an impressive number of twists and turns, most of them refreshingly unpredictable, and the acting is fully in synch with the genially weird mood of the drama, which hovers between humor and horror without ever quite settling on either one. Bravo.

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