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Japan 1987/1989
Directed by
Juzo Itami
127 / 12 minutes
Rated M

Reviewed by
Bernard Hemingway
3.5 stars

Taxing Woman, A / Taxing Woman's Return, A

Jûzô Itami’s A Taxing Woman is a satirical comedy that follows the relentless activities of a lady tax assessor to bring a crooked businessman to book is entertaining although with its pointed commentary on contemporary Japanese society, probably more so for a domestic audience (it was a big hit an Japan).  Here, Tsutomu Yamazaki, the truck driver of Tampopo and his co-star from that film, Nobuko Miyamoto,who is also Itami’s wife and muse, are an engaging pair of opponents in what is, from a Western perspective, a mildly amusing film.

It was followed by a sequel, A Taxing Woman’s Return (1989, 127m) which more or less followed the trajectory of all sequels, taking the same elements and ramping them up with a loss of themodest charms that won audiences in the first instance. Itami makes a harder, more savage, attack on corruption and the comedic aspects are included in a perfunctory and rather incongruous way, making this quite a different film although one which like its precursor is likely to have more appeal within its cultural frame of reference than without.




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