Jissoji’s follow-up to the masterful Mujo (This Transient Life) continues his exploration of Buddhist and sexual themes. In a motel near the Sea of Japan, two university students from Kyoto, Shinichi – an ex-activist and Hiroshi – a trotskyist and an individualist at the same time, and their girlfriends are exchanging partners. Shinichi and his girlfriend are attacked by two followers of the owner of the motel on the seashore, and then experience a queer pleasure. After having returned to Kyoto, they go back to the seashore so as to learn about the incident and meet the owner, who turns out to be the leader of a small community. They follow him to a village in the mountains, where he is creating a sort of Utopia based on the idea of primitive communism, which has auto-sufficient agriculture and eroticism as its principles. In Kyoto, the other couple worry about their disappeared friends, and also go back to the seashore. There, they are attacked by the members of the community and are brought to the village. Shinichi and Hiroshi, sometimes with the leader, longly discuss various notions and thoughts such as Utopia, time, revolution and charisma. Shinichi, who no longer believes in the future, is attracted by the community, whereas Hiroshi, who believes in eternal revolution, rejects its thought. And during their opposition, an incident triggers off the rapid collapse of the community.
Akio Jissoji (実相寺昭雄 Jissōji Akio?) (March 29, 1937, Tokyo – November 29, 2006, Tokyo) was a Japanese TV and film director best known outside of Japan for the 1960s TV series Ultraman and Ultra Seven, as well as for his auteur erotic ATG-produced Buddhist trilogy Mujō (無常)—Mandala (曼陀羅)—Uta (哥).
He was also known for his film adaptations of Japanese horror author, Rampo Edogawa. Jissoji possessed a very distinctive visual style that was notable even in Japanese cinema which is known internationally for its visual style. Every project he directed, from children’s action shows to the most disturbing adult films had an uncompromising approach to cinematic story telling. His episodes of the Ultraman TV shows are unique and quite unusual for children’s television. His career is also unusual in that he went back and forth from children’s television to film projects that were sexually provocative in some way or another. It’s perhaps this aspect of his work that has prevented wider distribution… read more
One of the best uses of a black and white/colour hybrid film I've seen. Also after watching it a second time it is a much better film (with or without crappy subtitles).