This is one of the most complex and troubling films that I have seen lately. I know unfortunately too little about Nagisa Oshima, beyond his being the director of the famous Empire of Senses. Here he gives an amazingly strong film about the fate of one man identified by a one letter name (as in Kafka's Process) facing death by hanging but refusing to die, and losing his memory in the process. The whole bureaucratic system around works to get his memory back in order to make him pay for his crimes. They will re-enact his crimes starting to look crazier and bringing to surface their own demons and prejudices, plunging the hero redeemed innocent by amnesia and themselves in a complex world that mixes ceremony and nightmare. The film is a strong shout of protest against the death penalty, militarism and any repressive system that crashes human dignity.
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