Monday, July 30, 2007

Vengeance Is Mine (Shohei Imamura, 1979)

***½
Japan

Shoehei Imamura explores the mind and history of a real-life serial killer, ostensibly in search for a tangible motive or explanation behind his behaviour, though wisely in the end, choosing not to narrow it down to a single, comfortable one. At his clumsiest, Imamura does insist that a scarring incident with unsubtle Freudian overtones in the [anti-]hero's childhood be taken into account. It's entirely possible however that Imamura doesn't want you to concentrate on the personal, Freudian aspects of said incident, rather than its banal nature - the fact that it's the kind of scar bound to be common throught a population coming out maimed and thwarted from a brutal war. This reading would fit much more neatly within the overarching presentation of the killer as chiefly a concrete, more honest manifestation of the unwholesome impulses bubbling beneath the most arbitrary of disguises in the outwardly booming post-war Japanese society as a whole.

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