Blind Beast

Director: Yasuzô Masumura
Japan / 1969 / 86 min

Available Dec 8-21

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Working from a story by the infamous Edogawa Ranpo—his pen name comes from the Japanese pronunciation of Edgar Allen Poe—Yasuzô Masumura gives us a perverse portrait of the artist as fetishist freak. Blind sculptor Michio (Eiji Funakoshi), whose studio is a temple devoted to outsize female anatomy, kidnaps Aki (Mako Midori), a model for SM photographs, so that she may act as his captive muse while he pursues his dream of a new form of art that serves touch rather than sight. In time, however, the pair leave behind all thought of art for erotic obsession, as Masumura manages to both show the comic absurdity of monomania and plunge the viewer completely into his subjects’ feverish sensuality.

Restoration courtesy of Arrow Video and the American Genre Film Archive.