A TAXING WOMAN
DIRECTOR: JUZO ITAMI
COUNTRY: JAPAN 1987
CINEMATOGRAPHY: YONEGO MAEDA
MUSIC: TOSHIYUKI HONDA
CAST: Nobuko Miyamoto(Ms Itakyra), Tsutomu Yamazaki(Gondo), Masahiko Tsugawa(Hanamura), Shinsuke Ashida(Ninagana)
SUPER FEATURES: Fun story... a bit of a dark comedy.
Juzo Itami, has been doing films, which, on the surface are comedies. But in every aspect, they are deadly serious. A TAXING WOMAN, is a story about a auditor for the local IRS system, which the Japanese have. She has the task of sniffing out the whole situation, and then get the law enforcement agents to take over the corrupt companies. And she gains respect, and a promotion, on the way to doing her job well.
This time, her target is a Mr. Gondo, who is laundering money, to avoid taxes. And her efforts are endless, and they almost fail, were it not for an accidental moment in the film. Mr. Gondo looks innocent indeed, but all the purveyors he works with do not seem to show the bills correctly... they all are mis-matched. The large place, where men take on many mistresses looks awfully busy ( and they are proud of doing such nice business ), but their books do not reflect this. Ms Itakura gets on the ball and finally begins cornering everyone, except the elusive Mr. Gondo. They are about to quit, frustrated, when a slight accident reveals the hidden room where many of the artifacts and receipts she is looking for are hidden. And the invalid Gondo is finally caught. An ageing man, whose sole purpose in life has been to do well, and succeed, as he was brought up to do. And as the taxing woman (nice pun on her job), is ruthless enough to be considerate, but never gives in to him, who wants to take her on as a mistress. She has become more modern (I suppose) and her view is less historic. She is not about to become a mistress to someone she does not have a reasonable respect for.... and Gondo is in her way of succeeding as well, although, by all intentions,
hers is honest, whereas gondo's were not.
There are moments when the film breaks into a satire, which it is meant to be. And the film has gags a plenty to keep everyone satisfied. But the inevitable question is, where does the satire end, and the story start.... they both go together.
In between, the film has sight gags that are Monty-Python'esque... scenes where a crowd walks by in front of the camera at a fast pace, too busy, and the like. The un-impressed Itakyra, knows darn well that if this happens they are hiding something, and they leave enough doors open for her to do her job.... and she jumps on it.
A few things are showcased here.... the film is also an interesting comment on the rise of women in Japanese society. Their work is being
noticed as being worthy of much more than a mere mistress, something which Gondo is fond of, but is incapable of correcting. And it is
a woman, that undresses him one more time, for taxes. The only thing that Gondo does not see, a throwback to the old times, is that he
could very easily hire this woman to do his books, and accomplish the same thing....
Fun film to watch. Clever photography, which tends to corner people with a camera when they are caught, and leave them in wide open
spaces, when they can not be reached.... well thought out, and, FUNNY.
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