During the 1930s, a teenager yearns for a Catholic girl, whose only desire is to reform his sinful tendencies. Hormones raging, the young man channels his unsatisfied lust into the only outlet available: savage, crazed violence.
I saw this film as a part of a Suzuki retrospective in Amsterdam, my first meeting with Suzuki, not knowing that it is all but representative for his more famous work from 50s-60s.
The plot of the film is difficult to describe because it is told almost without a cohesive narrative and totally non-linear and disjointed. I've never seen a film that resembles a feverish dream so closely. Roughly the story is about man confronted by one man (a rich business-man) and two women (a Japanese Geisha and a European, who dresses like a Japanese women).
Besides the 'narrative' distorted uniqueness, which allows the characters to jump from one location to the next or pop up (even within the same shot), the other interesting aspects of the film are the locations, the visuals and inter-textual connections. Just to name a few: We see the protagonist on a range of different locations in the Japan of the 1920s, both in the city as in the countrysides. Also the European woman with her piercing blue eyes and blonde hair (only when the moon shines) is a fascinating image. Suzuki's use of distorted Japanese paintings as a backdrop and a No-play performed by children in the final part of the film send shivers down my spine.
Although the film drags a bit in the middle, I left the theater with a positive, if slightly confused feeling. Maybe I liked it because it lacks any form of explicit explanation, just like a dream subjects you to an illogical and irrational 'story' that somehow makes sense. It is a film that forces you to leave every sense of (western) storytelling at the door. Or maybe it was just because it is fascinating to see a film in which every next shot is the complete unknown.
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