“I failed to die again, and now I’m alone.”
When I have the time, I’d like to watch and enjoy more movies by Ozu and Naruse, by Kurosawa and Masumura, Shindo and Imamura. Oshima is the only one I feel I ought to study. The movies are fun to watch and enjoy like the others, but I feel like I immediately need to see them again and figure out what they are up to. This one was at least more of a story (like Empire of Passion) than a political abstraction (like Death By Hanging), but still crazy enough that I’m sure I missed a lot.
It took a while to figure this out, but here goes. Eisuke (Kei Sato, male lead in Onibaba but looking more brutal/evil here) is the “high-noon” rapist/killer terrorizing Japan. Two women are irrationally in love with him: his wife Matsuko (Oshima regular Akiko Koyama), a teacher, and a young girl named Shino. Eisuke had “rescued” Shino when she tried to die with her boyfriend Genji (Rokko Toura, “Television” in Japanese Summer: Double Suicide) who knows how long ago, and now feels free to rape her anytime. When he’s finally caught and sentenced, the two women go into the woods to die together by poison, but Shino awakens, still alive.
The High-Noon Killer:
I guess it’s not that hard to figure out the story after all, but I was distracted by the ridiculously great/nuts camerawork and editing for at least the first half.