VILLAGE OF 8 GRAVESTONES (1977)
Real. Yoshitaro Nomura
Mus. Yasushi Akutagawa
The anguished curse of a dying warrior reaches over four centuries, searching for vengeance in this epic 1977 film. Set in a small town in modern-day Japan, with flashbacks to the 16th century, Village of Eight Gravestones tells the turbulent story of the Tajimi family and their village - both seemingly haunted by a mass-murder that occured four hundred years ago. Eight warriors, the legend says, were fleeing the battlefront in time of war and were ambushed and killed for their cowardice by numbers of the village, led by the Tajimis. The leader of the warriors died with the phrase "My heartbreak shall last through eternity" on his lips - hence the origin of the "curse". Cut to 1977 and a recent series of murders in the same village which, by coincidence (or curse?), happen when Tatsuya, descendent of the Tajimi family, returns to the village of his ancestors.
Essentially a murder mystery with intriguing gothic overtones, Village of Eight Gravestones features a screenplay by Shinobu Hashimoto, best known to western audiences for his Rashomon. The director, Yoshitaro Nomura has made some eighty films. He is a respected director noted for his ability to handle any kind of a plot with distinction.