With Confessions hit cinemas, we explore five great Femme Fatales of Asian Cinema…
Confessions is the story a woman who having lost her husband and loses her daughter at the hands of two of our own students in school. On the day Yuko Moriguchi leaves the school she announces that she has taken the HIV contaminated blood of her dead husband and infected the two students who killed her daughter. Confessions has taken the movie world by storm and is the Japanese nomination for Best Foreign Language film in the Oscars this year, this in part due to the fantastic performance by Takako Matsu and her portrayal of the vengeful mother and teacher.
However Yuko is not the first woman in Asian cinema we’ve grown to admire over the years and with that Movies.ie takes a very special look at some of the most powerful female characters to ever hit the screen across all Asian film culture, five femme fatales we certainly would not like to cross.
Major Motoko Kusunagi – Ghost in the Shell
Our only animated femme fatale in our top five, Kusunagi beat off some serious competition from the world of Anime to claim this spot as her own. She is a cyborg, a living machine infused with the ghost/soul/presence of a human being, little to nothing is known about her life prior to her cyborg transplant but what we know now is that she is one of the top agents working in Section 9. Infused with enhanced speed, strength and senses, Kusunagi excels at taking down some of the hardest and deadliest cyber terrorists and rogue cyborgs in the city.
Armed to the teeth, Motoko Kusunagi seems to have become more machine than human with little compassion or humanity left, just be glad she is a cop!
Azumi – Azumi/Azumi: Death or Love
Based on the popular Manga, Azumi is the story of a deadly female assassin, handpicked and trained by one of the best fighters in all of Japan for a vital mission. Alongside her brothers she spends her life training in the seclusion of the mountains honing her skills for the day when they may leave to bring a peace to the world.
The fastest of all the assassins in the group Azumi believes that above all else, her mission must come first, slaying the boy she loved at the request of her Master.
Probably not the greatest Samurai movie ever made but Azumi is jampacked with enough brilliantly choreographed fight scenes and beautiful backdrops to make it worth at least one watch.
Asami Yamazaki – Audition
The 1999 smash hit psychological thriller has been heralded as the ‘Misery’ of Japanese cinema. Aoyama is a middle aged widower who after following along with a clever ruse concocted by his friend finds a new ideal woman at fake auditions he is holding for an actress. The beautiful Asami is however not all she appears to be but despite warnings from his friend Aoyama chases her and begins a romance only to find out that she is in fact a complete and total psychopath.
With some of the most violent and teeth grinding scenes we’ve ever witnessed, Asami’s tortured mind and willingness to tear others apart means she is someone we never hope to come across.
Lee Geum-ja – Sympathy for Lady Vengeance
The 3rd instalment in Park Chan-wook’s ‘The Vengeance Trilogy’, Lee Geum-ja is one woman who don’t want to get on the bad side of. The Korean film tells the story of Geum-ja a woman who after spending years in prison for the murder of a young boy, is freed for good behaviour and begins her plan to bring down the man who destroyed her life and stole the one thing that was precious to her… her daughter. It is by far the most emotional of three Vengeance movies but that does not make it any less dark or harrowing, with Lee Young Ae as the broken but driven Geum-ja.
Girl #11 , Mitsuko Souma – Battle Royale
A young girl just as calculating as Lee Geum-ja Mitsuko is perhaps the deadliest on our list. At the age of 17 she has become nothing more than a hollow shell filled with rage, violence and lust. Like her other classmates she too is trapped on an island and forced to play the BR game where only one of the 42 students will live. Rather than attempt to flee or try fight back Mitsuko embraces the idea and with her ‘fallen angel’s smile’ and her scythe she begins to take off classmates down… one by one… becoming one of the deadliest players in the game.
Words: Declan Doody