Double Suicide Background

Double Suicide Background

Although not exceptionally well-known, Masahiro Shinoda's film Double Suicide (1969) is one of the most unique films ever to have been produced. Based on a Japanese play called The Love Suicides at Amijima, Double Suicides tells the story of the romance between a paper merchant named Jihei and a courtesan named Koharu. Their romance, however, is bound to fail. Through every turn in their life, their love is impeded -- first by Tahei, then by Osan, then by circumstances. When they realize that they can never truly be with each other in the living world, they decide that to be together, they each must commit suicide. Their plan is temporarily stopped by Osan, but they eventually make love and then kill themselves in a graveyard, finally together at last.

Because Double Suicide was not widely seen by critics at the time of release -- or even in the modern day -- there are few recorded reviews or recountings of how audiences felt about the film. Those few who have reviewed the film, however, like it tremendously. Jeffrey M. Anderson, for example, loved the film and said that it is "A film unlike any I've ever seen." Michael Dequina liked the film as well (but a bit less than Anderson), writing that "The amped-up line readings and actions initially feel a bit much, but they are crucial in creating the story's operatic sweep."

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