Thursday, 1 August 2013

Violence at Noon [1966]

Its always simultaneously intriguing and disconcerting to have us probe into the life and mind of a serial killer – more so, if the concerned person existed in reality. Imamura did that memorably with his Vengeance is Mine, but so did Oshima before him in the complexly structured and plotted Violence at Noon. Based on the life of a notorious murderer who was catapulted into popular conscience in the 50’s as the ‘Daylight Demon’, the film takes us into the self-destructive lives of the sociopathic, dangerously amoral and penniless drifter Eisuke (Kei Sato), Shino (Saeda Kawaguchi), the woman he desires, and his loving and loyal school-teacher wife Jinbo (Narumi Kayashima), and the ensuing ménage à trois that consumes them all. Comprising of over 2000 shots, as per film scholar Max Tessier, filled with Nouvelle Vague techniques like jump cuts and freeze frames, and employing a circular narrative with flashbacks and the present alternating one another, the densely packed film provided a telling portrayal of guilt, obsession, unrequited love, memories, rabid hypocrisy and the spiraling effects of a fragile socio-political order. The present dealt with the hunt for the man after he has committed his latest crime and the two women reconciling with each other on account of the common thread, while the past showed their lives in an impoverished village and how the strange bond, where each both love and hate the other, was forged. Fine performances, the exquisite camera work and the freewheeling nature, all added up to make this a disturbing, disorienting, fascinating and a highly confounding viewing experience.

Director: Nagisa Oshima
Genre: Drama/Psychological Drama/Crime Drama
Language: Japanese
Country: Japan

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