Crossroad (1928)

aka Jujiro
Article 4224 by Dave Sindelar
Date: 5-9-2013
Directed by Teinosuke Kinugasa
Featuring Akiko Chihaya, Junosuke Bando, Yukiko Ogowa
Country: Japan
What it is: Nightmarish tragedy

A young man’s infatuation leads to his blindness and belief that he has committed murder. His sister must care for him, but finds herself blackmailed by a fake policeman in order to get favors from her.

This movie is listed in the Walt Lee guide, but the elements it lists for its fantastic content seem vague and inconclusive, and other than a surreal descent into madness near the end, I don’t think it really qualifies. Nevertheless, it is a gripping, intense, and tragic film that becomes positively nightmarish at times. It’s a meditation on obsession, desperation, and the cruel twists of fate. The title seems metaphoric; at the end, a character stands at the crossroads, but one wonders if there’s any path that can be taken that will really make a difference. The copy I found of the movie is unfortunately without a score, but even with that, the movie has a real fascination. It’s certainly one of the most powerful movies I’ve seen in some time.

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