Wednesday, 16 July 2014

Kotsutsubo (3½ Stars)

For a few weeks Mitsuko has been raped by Ichida, one of her teachers. She hasn't told anyone about it, because she thinks that her classmates will blame her for what has happened. So she visits the burial place of a cursed woman, because it is rumoured that anyone who consumes the ashes from her funeral urn will die. She puts some ashes into a bottle of water and offers it to Ichida, but he isn't thirsty. Another schoolgirl, Koha, who has a crush on Ichida, takes the bottle and gives it to another teacher. This teacher commits suicide by jumping out of a school window, but when her body is found her left arm is missing. Ichida is told about the ashes, and he forces several other schoolgirls to drink from the bottle. They all commit suicide after seeing a ghost which is only visible to those who have swallowed the ashes. But a body part, such as an arm, a leg or the head, is missing from each corpse.

In many ways this is a typical Japanese ghost story, but the plot is more complex. The director seems to have a leg fetish, because in many scenes the camera zooms in unnecessarily on the schoolgirls' knees. That's not a problem for me!

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