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"This movie is quite good. Not exactly like Tanpopo but it's a fascinating movie with memorable characters. Unfortunately, the DVD version is absolutely terrible. The DVD version of Tanpopo is a hundred times better. It's very clear that this was a sloppy job. It's nothing but a very poor VHS transfer of the movie to DVD. Bad thing is that the DVD highlights the imperfections of the original VHS so that even people like me can see it. The quality of picture is fuzzy and the subtitles are the ones from the VHS (not DVD subtitles). This results in words that are impossible to see in some scenes and hard to read in all the others since the picture quality is quite fuzzy. Unless you are a die-hard fan of this movie, you're better off spending your money getting the DVD of Tanpopo. The DVD of Tanpopo is not perfect but the quality is still reasonable good and sharp and much better than this ... job."
By the VHS version instead
(1 out of 5 stars)
"This outstanding (five star) movie has illegible captions in the DVD version. If you want to be able to read the captions, buy the VHS version instead. Only get the DVD if your Japanese is good enough to understand the movie without captions."
Utterly Delightful ...
Irene Suver | Seattle, Washington USA | 02/27/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"As Tampopo is truly delicious, this film is an unadulterated joy. Fans of Juzo Itami and his wife, Nobuko Miyamoto will recognize old friends from other adventures in this offering. Like a much beloved repertory company, familiar faces are to be found new and surprising roles.Taking an unlikely subject for heroic portrayal, Itami's (as usual) delightfully feministic touch on that dreaded villain the tax auditor is effective and engaging. Unlike MINBO, which for some inexplicable reason bores me beyond redemption, this film is easily accessible and eminently watchable. Aside from some quite graphic nudity at the very beginning, (view by parents first), the film is an excellent overall story accessible to an audience over about 15. (Depending on your feelings about sex and taxes).In reference to the subtitling, I must say that ALL subtitling for Itami's films leaves a great deal to be desired, and I frankly don't see that much difference between the DVD and VHS versions ... but I must admit I am not a connoisseur on the matter, either. The ease of use and storage outweigh all other concerns for me."
Good citizens pay their taxes!,
Zack Davisson | Seattle, WA, USA | 06/24/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Itami Juzo is the Frank Capra of Japanese movies. His plots are always upbeat, the characters quirky, and the good guys always win. Like Capra, he wanted to show people a better way, to show Japan a world where corruption and evil could be brought down by a smiling and plucky woman who doesn't let anyone tell her what she can't do
"A Taxing Woman" ("Marusa no Onna") is his third film, following his masterpiece Tampopo, and is the first in a series of "-Woman" ("-no Onna") films staring his wife Nobuko Miyamoto as the smiling and plucky woman. In this film, she plays a tax collector, on a mission to bring the corrupt and shady businessmen of Japan into line, and get them paying their taxes. Her target is Hideki Gondo, an owner of a chain of Love Hotels who uses a complicated system of phony bank accounts to avoid registering his real income with the government.
Because this is an Itami film, Gondo (played by Tsutomu Yamazaki, also the cowboy Goro in "Tampopo") is not a bad man per se, but just someone out to take a bigger slice of the pie. He is unable to resist the charms of Nobuko, who takes him down smiling, and also patches things up between Gondo and his wayward son Taro. Nobuko is irresistible, and Itami found an amazing muse in his beautiful wife. Here, she is speckled with freckles to give her character a unique look, but her beaming smile and determination are impossible to hide.
However, make no mistake in thinking that "A Taxing Woman" is a G-Rated feel good film. In true Japanese style, Itami has no fear of sex or toilet humor, and plenty of both are on display here. The darker sides of life are not dumbed down, and the Yakuza are nasty people. But, stronger than their nastiness is Nobuko's goodness, and that is the message on display.
Itami is one of Japan's finest modern film makers, and his happy world is always lent a taint of sadness due to his own troubles and unhappy suicide. "A Taxing Woman" is among the best films of his short career, and the only one to merit a sequel, A Taxing Woman's Return ("Marusa no Onna II")."
Classic movie undone by dvd remastering
Irene Suver | 04/11/2004
(2 out of 5 stars)
"I have two copies of this movie-one on VHS and this one on DVD. I received the DVD as a present. Itami is one of the greatest modern directors in Japan who unfortunately committed suicide. This movie was enormously popular in Japan and deservedly so with its many touches of black humor, story, writing, acting and direction. The VHS is quite watchable. However, when I put the DVD on I immediately had to adjust my picture settings to even see the picture. It's unclear and fuzzy throughout the movie. In all of the film the English subtitling is difficult and sometimes impossible to read. I would say it is a prime candidate for a recall by the company. Since I can't give separate ratings for the movie vs. the DVD treatment I'm forced to give it 2 stars."