Junko’s Shamisen: A Mini-Epic of Poetic Revenge

Junko’s Shamisen: A Mini-Epic of Poetic Revenge

Junko’s Shamisen is a super-stylized samurai tale by Canadian filmmaker Sol Friedman. The short film is an exquisite chanbara mini-epic of revenge, suffused with manga and kabuki theater. Junko’s Shamisen flawlessly integrates traditional cell animation, 2D “cut out” style set animation, comic book dialogue bubbles and even some stop-motion to round things out. All of this is woven into the live action base of the film, which leaps off the screen with vivid color, depth and texture.

Set in the dark and densely-forested, rural backwoods of feudal-era Japan, Junko’s Shamisen is the quiet story of a young peasant girl named Junko living with her blind grandfather, who plays a three-stringed instrument called a shamisena. One day, Junko returns to their simple home to discover that her grandfather has been brutally murdered. Devastated and filled with despair, Junko, accompanied by a mystical fox spirit, abandons her old life and sets off for the village in search of better fortunes. While she goes begging from house to house, young Junko inadvertently encounters the ruthless Samurai Lord Yamamura, who was responsible for killing her grandfather. Emboldened by the influence of the fox spirit, Junko breaks out of her petite and unthreatening shell and avenges her grandfather through an act of gruesome poetic justice.

Junko’s Shamisen: A Mini-Epic of Poetic Revenge

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