Saturday, August 29, 2009

Hakuchu no torima

Violence at Noon / [Keskipäivän demoni] / [Demonen mitt på dagen]. JP 1966. PC: Sozosha. P: Masayuki Nakajima. D: Nagisa Oshima. SC: Tsuton Tamura – based on a short story by Taijun Takeda. DP: Akira Takada - b&w - Shochiku Grandscope 2,35:1. AD: Jusho Toda. M: Hikaru Hayashi. ED: Keiichi Uraoka. CAST: Kei Sato (Eisuke), Saeda Kawaguchi (Shino), Akiko Koyama (Matsuko), Mutsuhiro Toura (Genji Hiuga), Hosei Komatsu (Shino's father), Hideko Kawaguchi (Matsuko's mother), Teruko Kishi (Shino's grandmother), Taiji Tonoyama (schoolmaster), Sen Yano (village counsel), Hideo Kanze (Inagaki), Fumio Watanabe (inspector Haraguchi), Ryoko Takahara (the woman in the hospital), Shigemi Kayashima (teacher). 99 min. A Janus Films print with English subtitles. Viewed at Cinema Orion, Helsinki, 28 Aug 2009. - A clean, intact print of a film with an extremely original definition of light. The definition of light in the print is not perfect but pays justice to the concept. - One of Oshima's seminal films. - Based on a true story of a serial killer, a rapist and a murderer in the 1950s, who became the "High Noon Killer" of the headlines. He is not insane, but devoid of conscience. - The film is a hard look at brutal crime, which has no rational explanation, not even insanity. - The reality of the crime is strange and complex in itself, but Oshima also builds his film as a jigsaw puzzle which starts to make sense first after the screening. - The setting is a mountain village in the Shinshu district in the north of Honshu. A group of young people establish a collective farm, but the experiment is a grave disappointment, which leads to the suicide of Genji, the son of the village chairman, and the suicide attempt of his girlfriend, Shino. Eisuke, who had followed them with the assignment to prevent the suicide attemps, is married to the teacher Matsuko. The double suicide scene triggers in him a strange reaction: he rapes what he thinks is the corpse of Shino. But Shino is revived. Eisuke starts his rapist-homicidal spree with 35 victims. In the end Matsuko and Shino try to repeat the double suicide, but again, Shino survives. - This film demands repeated viewings to be fully appreciated. - Uniquely original cinematography, montage, and a brilliant jazz-like score in counterpoint to the subject.

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