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Full list by date of death

Kaneto Shindo


Born - 22 April 1912, Hiroshima, Japan
Died - 29 May 2012

Japanese director whose early work was influenced both by his birthplace and his wartime experiences, when he was conscripted into the army. Later, in the 1960s, he achieved world fame with two shocking films that were horrific in different ways. At the age of 98, he became the second-oldest-ever working director. He had begun as an art director, but wrote screenplays in post-war years, before turning director in 1951 with Story of a Beloved Wife, a tribute to his spouse, who died in 1977. His second wife, Nobuko Otawa, starred in many of his films. After the heartfelt Children of Hiroshima (1952), he was established as a major director of the Japanese cinema. Later successes include The Island (1960), a grim, unrelenting but compelling portrait of Japanese rural life. But it was his 'shockers', Onibaba/The Hole (1964) and Kuroneko (1967) that really brought him to international attention. Onibaba was about two women who murder passing samurai for their clothes, while the eerie Kuroneko also centred on two women, who return as 'cat vampire ghosts' to prey upon the blood of their rapists and murderers. Altogether, Shindo made 45 films as director, culminating in Postcard in 2010. Otawa died from cancer in 1994.