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Vengeance is Mine
aka - Fukushu suruwa ware ni ari
1979
Directed by Shohei Imamura

4 stars


Imamura has a predilection for marginalized characters and this outstanding study of a serial killer, based on an award-winning novel by Saki Ryuzo which was in turn based on real events that occured in Japan the early 1960s, fits the bill. The killer's alienated state is attributed to his upbringing in a repressive, ostracized Catholic environment and his relationship with his God-fearing father (hence the Biblical title). Murder becomes the final taboo and is carried out impersonally but with animalistic frenzy (the depiction of the first 2 murders are remarkable). The world Imamura depicts as we follow the killer's run from the law is a near-Dickensian one of baseness seething beneath the surface of respectable society. The story is composed by interlocking flashbacks,structured with inter-titles and finishes with an enigmatic epilogue that appears to refers to traditional Japanese beliefs about the spirit world. This is much longer than needs be but is certainly one of the best films dealing with this grisly topic. BH

 

 

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