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Shohei Imamura was one of the few important filmmakers working in 80s Japan; this film, which won the 1979 Japanese critics' poll, is often cited as his masterpiece. Based on a true story, the film follows master criminal Iwao Enokizu (Ken Ogata) on a cross-country rape and murder spree; he finally settles down at a seedy inn, where he takes up with the lonely woman who owns it. Imamura's detached, almost scientific style forestalls any pat sympathy for the central character—he is not a sentimental “victim of society,” but the embodiment of its darkest Darwinian forces. Imamura implies that his real tragedy lies in not being able to go far enough. With Mitsuko Baisho and Mayumi Ogawa. In Japanese with subtitles. 128 min.

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