Onibaba is based on one of the countless Japanese folk/ghost stories that have been passed around by word of mouth for generations. The film traces the story of a love triangle based around an aging mother, her freshly widowed daughter-in-law, and the deceased surviving friend. Besides these three, the few others in the film exist only to serve as narrative requirements. Anything more would get in the way of the story, which, as Shindo puts it in a 2003 interview is "all about sex." It does not take too long into the film before the striking modernity of Shindo's style becomes apparent. After a few hints at erotic ideas--a lingering shot of the youthful widows rear, or unremarked upon frontal nudity on the part of the mother--Shindo commences to showcase some of the loveliest sex ever seen in on film. As Shindo puts it, sex, for these people, is all that matters: food and shelter are their only competitors in terms of focus. By the middle of the movie, when the aging mother (these characters names aren't even included in the credits) finds herself so desperate to return to the status quo that she, quite literally, demonizes herself, the viewer has been so immersed in a rapturous love affair that it becomes difficult to see her point of view. In what is possibly the films only flaw, she becomes too cruel in her actions; still, this is in keeping with Shindo's embracement of the complexity that sex creates. Regardless of the primitive behavior of his subjects, their actions carry consequence, of which the heartrending end is evidence. Onibaba is an incredibly modern picture, so wildly interesting and intelligent that it seems to stand beyond it's audience, but not in judgement or derision: with a look back to us, beckoning forward.