Very strong film-statement, mix of punchy filmmaking and philosophy. With 4 walls, a band of all-rounded actors and great staging, Oshima succeeded with what could have been a desaster in someone else's hands. Oshima means : full of anger and intelligence, ready to fight Japan conservatism. I love this idea that the drama works through storytelling instead of a classic flashback. Imagination is much stronger !
Showing the absurdity of an execution with all the elements dear to the japanese new wave; with humor, originality in mise en scène, and a questioning of different social status. Absurd at some point, but beautiful when it came to the realisation of the value of a life.
Oshima's dark absurdist farce that takes on everything from Japanese exceptionalism to existential dread. Relevant social and political questions perversely served up as theatrical burlesque, because that's we've made them. A little scattered, and with some weird unquestioned rape-apologism that thankfully wouldn't fly today. Still, a remarkable and important contribution to cinema.
The punitive & theological casuistry's abstract lungs achieve pleural warmth in Oshima's film like a Galatea roused from the mineral and calcified cold of theory to the mercurial jaggedness of life, and it is striking the degree to which canonical and secular procedures use consciousness as mere expedient and validation stamp: before the condemnation, the soul's expected to internalize the guilt and scouring grief of
The ever pigeonhole-resistant Nagisa Oshima offers up a mother-of-all-social-issue-pictures type deal here. He is very volubly interrogating Japan's then-current popular support of capital punishment as well as its treatment of Koreans (an ongoing bête noire of his). But this ain't no lecture. It's an indelicate though bravely open public hearing. A bad trip. Many will invoke Kafka. Well, no shit!
What begins as a procedural depiction of Japan’s capital punishment system slowly but surely loses every last one of its marbles in an absurd, comic perspective of the country's post-war socio-political climate. It does this through no more than a loophole in the execution process that causes moral dilemma and dark comedy. This is unleashed, untamed and insanely inventive filmmaking.