Oshima’s disturbing tale concerns the odd circum stances surrounding a horrific murder and rape spree. In an unexpected twist, the film is as much about the two women who protect the violent man—his wife and a former victim—as it is about him. Containing more than two thousand cuts and a wealth of inventive widescreen compositions, this coolly fragmented character study is a mesmerizing investigation of criminality and social decay. —The Criterion Collection
Nagisa Oshima’s career extends from the initiation of the “Nuberu bagu” (New Wave) movement in Japanese cinema in the late 1950s and early 1960s, to the contemporary use of cinema and television to express paradoxes in modern society. After an early involvement with the student protest movement in Kyoto, Oshima rose rapidly in the Shochiku company from the status of apprentice in 1954 to that of director. By 1960, he had grown disillusioned with the traditional studio production policies and broke away from Shochiku to form his own independent production company, Sozosha, in 1965. With other Japanese New Wave filmmakers like Masahiro Shinoda, Shohei Imamura and Yoshishige Yoshida, Oshima reacted against the humanistic style and subject matter of directors like Yasujiro Ozu, Kenji Mizoguchi and Akira Kurosawa, as well as against established left-wing political movements. Oshima has been primarily concerned with depicting the contradictions and tensions of postwar Japanese society. His… read more
Deadly cycle of love/hate as what the viewer knows of the killer is forged from memories of two wounded love ones. The information/emotions compound in a fashion that's almost scientific but there is nothing detached about the film, whenever the women's testimonials start to feel like info dumps Oshima reminds the viewer how hard it is to exercise this kind of pain. Masterpiece.
At the heart of the film lies not a tale of murder but a love triangle unified by tragedy, miscommunication and a jarring detachment for life itself. Ôshima attacks the constant dehumanization of Japan's more debilitated socal circles, worn out by their daily toils without the proper emotional gratification, all of this shot with amazing skill.