Synopsis by Josh Ralske
Veteran director Seijun Suzuki (Branded to Kill) takes a new direction with the colorful operetta-fairy tale, Princess Raccoon. When Azuchi Momoyama (Mikijiro Hira), the master of Grace Castle, is told by his soothsayer, Virgen the Old Maid (Saori Yuki) that his son, Amechiyo (Joe Odagiri), will soon usurp his place as "the fairest of them all," the king decides to banish the young man to Karasu Mountain, where the shape-shifting tanuki demons (raccoon-like canines native to Japan) live. Dropped at the mountain, Amechiyo is greeted by the beautiful Tanukihime (Zhang Ziyi), who speaks a strange language (Mandarin), and whom he soon learns is the ruler of Tanuki Palace. Amid colorful painted backdrops, lavish costumes, and eclectic musical numbers, the two fall into a forbidden and dangerous romance. After they frolic in the woods, Amechiyo is taken prisoner by tanuki, but Tanukihime's hand maidens, recognizing the princess' love for him, arrange for his escape. Azuchi is determined to end his son's life, however, and even Hagi (Hiroko Yakushimaru), Tanukihime's loyal henchwoman, is determined to separate the lovers, presumably to ensure the princess' safety. Princess Raccoon was shown at the 2005 Cannes Film Festival before having its North American Premiere at the 2005 New York Asian Film Festival, presented by Subway Cinema.
banishment, demon, forbidden-love, king, mountains, shapeshifter, soothsayer