Shohei Imamura is one of those auteurs that Japan seems to spew forth on a regular basis with little effort.. Like Kurosawa, Imamura takes western film concepts and flips them on their heads, creating something new and possibly disturbing to our sensibilities. Films like THE PORNOGRAPHER, PROFOUND DESIRES OF THE GODS (also available on MOC and a true beauty) and BLACK RAIN are both profound and disturbing in equal measure, and VENGEANCE IS MINE is probably on top of that pile.
The 1979 film tells the based-on-true-events story of Iwao Inokizu, a middle-aged and apparently respectful man who suddenly develops an inexplicable urge to maim and murder at an almost random level, and despite an extensive manhunt for him he continuously slips through police fingers - Finally seeking shelter at a brothel he develops a bizarre love interest in the madam... A Love that can not be expected to last or even exist, yet it does. Not many western films could tackle such a subject without lapsing into parody or over-the-top NATURAL BORN KILLERS lurid technicolour, yet Imamura somehow not only reins in the story amongst the madness, but ultimately gives it a human face as well. It needs to be seen to be believed basically, and thanks to Masters of Cinema and Criterion we have the opportunity to do so.
The Blu-Ray HD restoration is amazing, and no doubt MOC sourced the print from the aforementioned Criterion who never cease to amaze - Extras and essays just add cream to this coffee. If you have any interest in Japanese cinema or even cinema in general, watch this film and make others watch it as well.