VENGEANCE IS MINE (Shohei Imamura, 1979)

Shohei Imamura’s Fukushû suruwa wareniari begins with the police transport to headquarters of captured serial killer Iwao Enokizu, based on Akira Nishiguchi. Enokizu, 37, disdainfully laments that his imminent appointment with a noose will rob him of the accompanying 55-year-old officer’s longevity. The scene inside the car, with its five occupants, is lean and sparse, […]

THE INSECT WOMAN (Shohei Imamura, 1963)

Shohei Imamura’s stark black-and-white Nippon konchuki (Entomological Chronicles of Japan) begins with a beetle crossing blank terrain; the overhead camera seems to show unimpeded travel: a God’s-eye whitewash of reality. The camera shifts lower so as to be looking up at the beetle, which, upon closer inspection, is struggling horribly up a hill, each step […]

THE DEEP DESIRE OF THE GODS (Shohei Imamura, 1968)

Imamura’s Pornographers (1966) is chiseled in black and white; most subsequent Imamura films, however, are messy and in color: a better indicator, perhaps, of his vision of overflowing humanity. Kamigami no Fukaki Yokubo was Imamura’s first film in this mode.      Kariya, a Tokyo engineer, visits an island south of Japan, planning for the construction of […]