A Taxing Woman

  • 1987
  • 2 HR 07 MIN
  • NR

Continuing his series of hilariously incisive examinations of modern Japanese culture (burial rites in THE FUNERAL, food in TAMPOPO), director Juzo Itami here turns his gaze on that most sacred of contemporary obsessions--money. Part social satire, part procedural drama, A TAXING WOMAN takes its title from spunky, dedicated tax agent Ryoko Itakura (wonderfully...read more

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Continuing his series of hilariously incisive examinations of modern Japanese culture (burial rites in THE FUNERAL, food in TAMPOPO), director Juzo Itami here turns his gaze on that most sacred of contemporary obsessions--money. Part social satire, part procedural drama, A TAXING WOMAN

takes its title from spunky, dedicated tax agent Ryoko Itakura (wonderfully acted by Nobuko Miyamoto, Itami's wife), who uses her demure looks to lull tax cheats into false confidence before she lowers the boom. Most of the film details her determined attempt to get the goods on suave "adult

motel" tycoon Hideki Gondo (Tsutomu Yamazaki), who launders his money through the yakuza (gangsters), phony corporations, real estate, and his mistress. He's sharp, but Ryoko's sharper; and by the end, not only are the interests of the Japanese Tax Office served, but love (though unrequited) makes

an appearance. Although not as out-and-out loopy as TAMPOPO, Itami's portrait of money-mad Japanese society has a biting satiric edge. The boundless energy of the Japanese seems to be what really fascinates the director, who is well on his way to becoming the leading chronicler of life in

modern-day Japan. His 1988 sequel to this film, A TAXING WOMAN'S RETURN, is less satisfying than the original.

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