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Yasuzo Masumura's "Irezumi" ("Tattoo") is weakly known beyond arty Japanese-film circles, but its plot fits quite well amidst today's abundant mainstream thrillers about femme fatales and their prey.
Reminiscent of a Shakespearean tragedy, "Irezumi" is a violent tale of forbidden love. Otsuya is the daughter of a wealthy businessman. Shinsuke works for her father. The two are in an intense romance, but Otsuya's father doesn't feel Shinsuke is worthy. He orders Shinsuke killed (he escapes harm), and has Otsuya shuffled off to a geisha house to live as a prostitute. As part of her sentence, she is tattooed with a giant spider across her back (it bears little resemblance to what's seen in the above movie poster). The creature's legs have an eerie way of "wriggling" along with her torso movements, and the suggestion is that the tattoo somehow possesses her spirit and transforms her into a cold-hearted devourer of men. By the time the fugitive Shinsuke catches up with her, she's living in luxury and is established as the region's most coveted prize. Their bond remains, but we know this can't end well.
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