Shin Zatichi monogatari: Oreta tsue (1972) Zatoichi in Desperation
Directed by Shintar Katsu
Starring Shintar Katsu,
Zatoichi in desperation or Shintar Katsu in despair ?
Shintar Katsu not only played Zatoichi in this episode he also directed it. Darker more brutal and pretty miserable overall, it makes you wonder what was happening in his personal life at that time.
Storywise, Zatoichi passes an old woman on a bridge, she slips and falls into the waiting waters, without a doubt shes dead and Zatoichi carries the burden of guilt believing that in some way it was his fault. He traces the womans daughter who is working as a prostitute and buys out her contract so she is free, but his conscience over the womans death prevents him from noticing the injustice inflicted on the local fishermen whose boats are deliberately damaged so they will have to work for a pittance for the local gang boss, I haven't seen a Zatoichi film before where this sort of injustice has gone unpunished.
Zatoichi himself has a high price on his head so throughout the film he is dispatching adversaries who are greedy enough to try and kill him. There is one hell of a killing spree toward the end (despite the fact that Zatoichi gets his fingers broken), where everyone who deserves to die does so.
More than enough depth to the story but its depressing, despairing even compared to the others.
The cinematography is bizarre, I dont know if he was trying for an arty look but half the time the camera seems to be shooting far too close to the subject or out of focus, maybe he took on too much by trying to direct as well, .
Above average? Storywise yes but the way its been filmed may be off-putting to some.