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Heroic Purgatory (1970)

Rengoku eroica (original title)
An engineer's wife returns home with a lost teenager. A man posing as her dad tries to get her back, causing the engineer to recall his youth as a revolutionary, obscured by dreamlike disruptions of time and space, fantasy and reality.

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Cast

Cast overview:
Mariko Okada ...
Nanako
Kaizo Kamoda
Naho Kimura ...
Jyoko
Yoshiaki Makita ...
Shu
Kaneko Iwasaki ...
Atsuko
Tôru Takeuchi ...
Kiyoshi
Kazumi Tsutsui ...
Ayu
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Storyline

An engineer's wife returns home with a lost teenager. A man posing as her dad tries to get her back, causing the engineer to recall his youth as a revolutionary, obscured by dreamlike disruptions of time and space, fantasy and reality.

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Drama | Fantasy

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26 September 1970 (Japan)  »

Also Known As:

Heroic Purgatory  »

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The second movie in Yoshishige Yoshida's unofficial trilogy on Japanese radicalism. The other two titles are Erosu purasu gyakusatsu (1969) and Kaigenrei (1973). See more »

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User Reviews

 
Unusual, different and challenging
27 April 2009 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

From the very first frame, you know you are in for something different. The first thing that strikes you is the composition of the visuals. Each frame is an avant-garde work of art. If you turned off the sound and simply watched the visuals it would be worth the time.

The plot is complex and enigmatic. Intentionally ambiguous, it deals with love, truth, reality and the validity of political action. Although it is enigmatic, it is not boring. Instead it stimulates thought on these subject. The ambiguity of the plot means that there are no easy answers and viewers must make up their own minds on these weighty subjects. It also means that the film can be viewed several times.

This is an "art film". The director was a major figure in the Japanese new wave that started in the 60's and watching this film one is reminded of Alain Resnais, although this is not a copy of his style. The film is part of a trilogy of "sex and politics" films (Eros plus massacre; Heroic Purgatory ; Coup D'Etat).

You will not like this if you are looking for an entertaining film, or a film with action, sex, comedy, great one liners and all those other things that can make a film entertaining. There is nothing wrong with such films but this one one of them. It is a film that will make you think.

Finding a good copy of this or any of this director's other films can be difficult. This particular film can be found if you search the internet but it is usually found with very poor and incomprehensible subtitles. Recently someone has made a new subtitle translation but it is very hard to find. I wouldn't recommend the film without this new translation unless you are a Japanese speaker. Subtitles that begin "This morning I lift the floor There are 3 worms" should be avoided. Those that begin "This morning, there were three cockroaches," are good. But on the other hand just watching the visuals can be worth it.


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