I kind of hated this movie but have to admit it's beautiful and worth watching. I don't think that noh mask scene is ever going to leave the back of my mind. My issues with it were that I didn't find the main character or his philosophy compelling in the slightest and so the heart of the film felt empty to me beyond the visual experience.
A seeker holds a mirror to Buddha's all-knowing smile and discovers a world of carnality and pain. We're invited to watch a dualistic contest of sin and no-sin; belief and heresy; hedonism versus Japan's social censures; artistic purity vs the gash of realism; dogma vs sensuality's disenfranchisement--all with generously eccentric B & W cinematography to create the film's ontological battleground of flesh and stone.
A dark, rich and strange exploration of incest and sexual desire, with magnificent b+w cinematography, striking camerawork, framing and extraordinary feeling for textures, space and architecture. The social, philosophical and religious implications were interesting but the discussion of the male protagonist's self-indulgent credo detracted a bit from the intriguing sensual mystery. Still, a remarkable film.
"Why worry of consequence, when after death you no longer exist?" We have a small amount of time on this earth and very little evidence of an afterlife ... so do we enjoy every pleasure we can get from this life whilst we have the chance? Or will this result in an unordered world, so chaotic and barbaric that those pleasurable things we strive for lose significance?
http://www.bfi.org.uk/whatson/bfi_southbank/film_programme/august_seasons/shinjuku_diaries_films_from_the_art_theatre_guild_of_ja The film will be screened at BFI Southbank as part of Shinjuku Diaries: Films from the Art Theatre Guild season (1st - 31st Aug) Screening on 3rd introduced by Roland Domenig