Hell screen

by Ryunosuke Akutagawa

Kuniaki Ida has taken his inspiration from a great 20th-century Japanese writer, Ryunosuke Akutagawa, author of short stories that, often set in Japan’s past, are also influenced by the modern European genre of noir fiction. The story of Hell Screenis told by an anonymous figure, a servant of the Lord Horikawa. The court painter is a great artist, Yoshihide, who is reputed to have supernatural powers. A man with a prickly and hostile character, he loves no one but his only daughter, whom gossip at court holds in turn to be loved by the lord. For this reasonYoshihide asks Horikawa insistently and in vain for her to be released from his service. One day Horikawa commissions Yoshihide to paint a large screen with scenes of the Buddhist hell. Accustomed to basing his work on reality, the horrible death of his daughter will be the subject that allows him to finish his masterpiece.