The Insect Woman (Imamura, 1963)

The Insect Woman (Shohei Imamura, 1963)

The Insect Woman was a slightly disturbing, yet seemingly accurate illustration of the rise and fall of a Japanese madam living during the 1950s. It was very interesting watching a film from this perspective. There are numerous films revolving around call girls, and in each one there is a confident, powerful woman who runs the organization known as the madam. Usually, this woman is a side character. In The Insect Woman, we follow one of these women from childhood as her life becomes what it is.

Raised by what seemed to be a mentally challenged father, she has far from a normal childhood and quickly slips into the negative habits of her mother (which her own daughter would also succumb to). It is easy to feel sympathetic towards her situation, especially as she tries to fight temptation and is deceived by a woman she trusts in what is easily the most heartbreaking scene of the film. From this point forward, her life begins to spiral out of control. The film does cover a large time period (over 50 years), which leaves a decent number of scenes underdeveloped, and others somewhat dull, but the sections of her life where we spend most of our time make for great cinema.  8/10


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