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This is possibly the best film Nagisa Oshima ever made; and one of the more accessible.
The film begins somewhere in the near future, in Japan. The streets and roads are empty of civilians, only the occasional police car or military squad march down the road.
Our protagonist, Nejiko, a attractive and frustrated adolescent is attempting to seduce policemen and soldiers; but none are interested, their busy fulfilling their duty. Nejiko eventually bumps into deserter soldier Otoko (played by Oshima regular Kai Sato) - he is also wandering around alone searching for something; unfortunately for Nejiko he isn't interested in sex, he wants to find someone to kill him. The pair end up getting taken to a secret compound by 'gangsters' who turn out to be members of a secret army plotting to overthrow the government.
The bulk of the film takes place in this military compound inside one of the sheds where Otoko, Nejiko and a group of mercenaries are waiting on orders (and weapons) from the leaders.
Unfortunately for the would-be revolutionaries a Westerner is driving throughout Japan in a car on a rampage sniping people; resulting in all the police and military being deployed trying to stop him; and he gets ever closer to the secret army's military base.
But whilst all the mercenary men discuss their past, their justification of violence, their favoured weapons, poor Nejiko just wants one of them to make love to her!
The film later on leaves the barracks and goes on a search with several members of the group.
The cinematography resembles Resnais' in Hiroshima Mon Amour, which is one of my favourite films, but I think this film beats it!
Oshima fills his film with a group of completely differing mysterious characters, forces them in close proximity to each other and observes them interacting often with explosive results. None really have importance over the other, and all are flawed.
For me, this film is about the search for Japanese pride after World War 2; and the absurd importance placed upon it above all others things. Oshima critiques each different group's reaction - the students, the police and army, the elderly, the war criminals, the businessmen.
Only the women are left uncriticised.. The one woman in the film, the only one brave enough to leave her home and get what she wants, just gets in the way of the men looking for their pride- ignoring the fact that a new Japan can only be brought about by the two coming together and starting anew.
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