January 24, 2014 · 6:15 PM
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Vengeance Is Mine
Shohei Imamura. 1979. Japan. 128 min. Color. 35mm. With English subtitles.
w. Ken Ogata, Rentaro Mikuni, Chocho Miyako
After about a decade making documentaries, Imamura returned to fiction with this film inspired by the true story of a gruesome 78-day killing spree and manhunt. In this career-defining film, Ken Ogata delivers an unforgettable performance as Iwao Enokizu, a con artist, thief, lady charmer, and murderer. The film begins with Iwao entering jail. A series of flashbacks take us back in time to revisit the murderer’s past and his horrendous crimes. Such a reverse chronological structure makes the film more of a character study than a suspenseful crime thriller. This intense portrait of a menacing mind is at once poignant and chilling. A Janus Films Release.
“A portrait of a killer that is poignant, tragic and banal enough to deserve the comparison with Crime and Punishment.” — Roger Ebert