Blu-Ray Review: The Mad Fox

Tomu Uchida was a Japanese director who, despite the best attempts of critics, could never really be pigeonholed. His work oscillates wildly between nostalgic social realism and experiment theatrical exuberance. Despite struggling for recognition during his own lifetime, much of which can be attributed to World War II and working for an unfashionable Studio, hr has been posthumously hailed in his homeland as a master. The Mad Fox is probably his most outlandish film.

In Medieval Kyoto a strange astrological phenomenon triggers a foreboding within the palace. The Court Astrologer is summoned, but is ambushed on the way and killed. It’s part of a plot by his treacherous wife to promote her lover Doman (Shinji Amano). The pair also kill his adopted daughter Lady Sakaki (Michiko Saga) but her lover Yasuna (Hashizô Ôkawa) escapes. Half-crazed with grief he’s set upon by bandits only to be rescued by fox spirits who attempt to cure his madness.

The Mad Fox is a mind-boggling mix of bunraku and kabuki theatre, animation, revolving stages, romantic melodrama and period tragedy. There’s a lot to take in, but Uchida’s film is so overflowing with imagination that there’s never a dull moment. Whilst the inventiveness and kaleidoscopic settings catch the eye it’s the clever plotting which stays with you. The Mad Fox is a singular marvel which will entrance and enchant.

Special Edition Contents:

  • Brand new restoration by Toei
  • High Definition Blu-ray™ (1080p) presentation
  • Original uncompressed mono Japanese audio
  • Optional newly translated English subtitles
  • Brand new audio commentary by Japanese cinema expert Jasper Sharp, recorded exclusively for this release
  • Original theatrical trailer
  • Image gallery
  • Reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Matt Griffin

FIRST PRESSING ONLY: Illustrated collector’s booklet featuring new writing on the film by Ronald Cavaye and Hayley Scanlon

The Mad Fox is released on Blu-ray by Arrow Academy on 22 June.

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