Asahi Shinbun (December 20th, 2005)

Now, here is an incredible film. The artistic world expressed in this soul-shaking film has gone way beyond the realm of Japanese film.Based on the Akutagawa award-winning novel by Mangetsu Hanamura, the film is directed by newcomer Tatsushi Omori. The film is staged in a rural, snowy monastery, but the location remains anonymous throughout the film. It would be meaningless to try to explain the film, for nothing in the film is ever explanatory. The only thing one can do is just observe the human relationships shown-- gorged with violence and abnormal sex. One thing is for sure; This rookie director surely is no average rookie.
In the confines of the monastery is a ranch, a chicken farm, and a school. A young man who works there(Hirofumi Arai) is the main character, and his mysterious, instinct-driven words and deeds draw the lines of this film. His sexual service towards the head priest(Renji Ishibashi), his violent and sexual feud with his colleagues, his seduction towards a nun(Leona Hirota), his sexual acts with a young novice (Megumi Sawara), and his confession of murder to a priest(Kei Sato) all are extremely intense, but are expressed in a straight-forward manner.
In midst of the chaotic mixture of depravity and holiness, is a wandering soul of a young man. He wanders through issues such as sin, punishment, god, the act of defying god, and salvation, as he listens to the whisperings of the gods through his Germanic radio. The cleanliness that exists throughout the film -- despite the abundance of sex and violence -- is surely noteworthy. Arai does an excellent job in expressing this cleanliness, as he brilliantly acts out the suffering of an innocent soul. The film begins in snowy winter, and ends in spring -- informing all of new life -- suggesting this purity and cleanliness.
The film will open at a theater built especially for this film, placed in the Tokyo National Museum. The executive producer of the film is Genjiro Arato, the man who once screened "Zigeunerweisen" in a tent, declaring "direct delivery" as his slogan.

Sadao Yamane

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Mainichi Shinbun (January 6th, 2006)

Outrageous. This film defies all conventional emotions, morals, and virtues. The audience will find themselves thrown-off rather than understood, and feel chaos instead of feeling sympathy.

The film is based on Mangetsu Hanamura's novel. Rou(Hirofumi Arai), who has committed murder is back for hiding in the rural, snowy monastery he grew up in. Rou is lost in the definition of sin, and shows no remorse for his crimes. Without resistance, he serves to satisfy the head priest's (Renji Ishibashi) sexual desires, has sex with a young girl Kyoko (Megumi Sawara), and rapes a nun (Leona Hirota).  Surrounding Rou is an abundance of violence, distorted sex, and death, but there is no standard as to what is normal in the closed confines of the monastery. The holiness of the priest listening to Rou's confession, and the brutality of amputating a mating pig's penis, are both lined up and equalized. The snow-covered expressionless scenery, and Arai's rigid but transparent existence break common atmosphere. All that stands is Rou, who hears voices of gods through his rad, and sniffs other peoples toes.

  This is not a pleasant film. Most would more likely feel discomfort at first. However, what is shown here is the true nature of humans that many try not to look at. The film affirms humans, without the quick fix of catharsis and humanism. The film will test your sensitivity - whether you can face the extraordinary power, or not. The film will open at the Ikkaku, a theater built especially for this film, placed in the TokyoNational Museum.

It will run for at least 6months. In both content and presentation, this film acutely provokes the Japanese film industry. Director Tatsushi Omori's debut film. 1hour47minutes.                    

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