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Rampo (1994)

 -  Drama | Mystery  -  19 May 1995 (USA)
7.1
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Ratings: 7.1/10 from 482 users  
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Edogawa Rampo is a writer whose latest work is censored by the government, deemed too disturbing and injurious to the public to be allowed to be published. However, after burning his drafts... See full summary »

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Title: Rampo (1994)

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
Edogawa Rampo
Michiko Hada ...
Shizuko
...
Masashi Yokomizo
Mikijirô Hira ...
Marquis Ogawara
Shirô Sano ...
Officer
Ittoku Kishibe ...
Cafe owner
Nekohachi Edoya ...
Antique shop owner
Jun'ichi Takagi ...
Fujimori
Charlie Yutani ...
Driver
Kirin Kiki ...
House wife / Head of maid
...
...
Big Star
Kinji Fukasaku ...
Film Director
...
Movie Actor
Edit

Storyline

Edogawa Rampo is a writer whose latest work is censored by the government, deemed too disturbing and injurious to the public to be allowed to be published. However, after burning his drafts, his publisher shows him a newspaper with an account of events just like his forbidden story. As the film progresses, fantasy and reality intermingle in a tale that draws heavily on influences from Poe and Stoker's Dracula. The film's strongly Expressionistic direction skillfully combines a variety of media (animation, computer-generated imagery, grainy black-and-white fast film stock, color negatives) for artistic effect. Written by Tad Dibbern <DIBBERN_D@a1.mscf.upenn.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

So provocative the censors banned it, so powerful it came true.

Genres:

Drama | Mystery

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for images of bizarre sexuality
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

19 May 1995 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

The Mystery of Rampo  »

Box Office

Gross:

$305,434 (USA)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

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User Reviews

 
Visually stunning and thought-provoking
9 February 2010 | by (Gainesville, Virginia) – See all my reviews

I love it when a director shows me something new--reaches me in a novel way. "The Mystery of Rampo" certainly fits the bill. In reading a couple of reviews prior to watching this film, I was led to believe that it would be at best an exercise in trying to follow stream-of-consciousness, overly pretentious film-making; or at worst, plot less incoherency.

I did not find that to be the case at all. Of course it is a rather unconventional film that owes a lot to the school of Metafiction. But I never felt lost or manipulated, or felt that the director and cinematographer were just showing off. I think I could deconstruct what happened plot-wise (well, most of it anyway) if I were so inclined. But that's not the point. I'd rather sit back and revel in the experience and allow myself to appreciate what I think the director is trying to show me.

Basic plot: A mystery writer (Rampo) creates a story where a woman murders her husband by allowing him to suffocate in a trunk. He tries to get his story published but the Japanese censor board is having none of it. Frustrated, he burns his manuscript. The next day, he reads a story in the newspaper where a woman named Shizuko (Michiko Hada) murders her husband by allowing him to suffocate in a trunk. He is flummoxed because no one but him had any clue about his story.

Rampo endures further insult to his artistic integrity as his previous works are made into ridiculous screenplays and insipid movies. You can see his disillusionment as he attends publicity parties and press events. Is it no wonder that he would rather fall into a fantasy world where his artistry and imagination can break the limitations placed on him by society? It is at this point that the film veers into the realm of the imagination where characters are not bound by the constraints of reality. Is fantasy imitating life or is life imitating fantasy? Is he writing the story or is the story writing him? Or are they inexorably intertwined?

I've seen this movie many times--it is gorgeous and captivating film. Hada's beauty is transcendent. I agree with another reviewer who said "just about every scene in the film could be framed and sold as an art poster." Akira Senju's score (played by the Czech Philharmonic Orchestra) is a perfect fit and some of the prettiest music I've ever heard in a film. A wonderful experience all around.


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