Japanese Summer: Double Suicide

1967 gangster gun sex comedy

Rating: 16/20

Plot: A teenager really wants to get laid, but she can't find a willing man to help her out. A young soldier wants to die, but he can't find anybody willing to kill him. They find themselves kidnapped by a group of gangsters that don't seem to have anything to do.

Another Nagisa Oshima flick, this one's wickedly funny. Once again, I feel like I'm missing some context since I'm not living in 1960's Japan, but the movie's themes still resonated. You've got all these frustrated characters who can't accomplish the one thing they want to accomplish--shooting somebody, being killed, have sex, general gangster action. More absurdly, none of them really seem to have a clear understanding of why they want to do any of those things. It sets up this Bunuel-ean, Theater of the Absurd situation with some wacky characters.

I like Oshima's quiet style here. Like Death by Hanging that I saw recently, a lot of this takes place in one setting--some sort of warehouse. Instead of that single setting becoming stale, Oshima uses the architecture well. There are also a few visual motifs, most obviously, people-shaped outlines in walls and on the ground. It's all stylish in a way that doesn't feel stylish.

I liked Keiko Sakurai, the gal who played the only female character in this movie, and it was just because she was busty. I'm surprised to find out that this and Death by Hanging were the only movies she acted in.

There were loose ends. Television, an American sniper on a rampage, and a guy obsessed with knives instead of guns work their ways into the proceedings, and I'm not exactly sure what it all means.

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