Hakuchu no torima (The Daylight Demon) (Violence at High Noon) (1966)
Movie InfoThe unstable social milieu of postwar Japan is brought into play in Violence at Noon. Two young women, whose lives are far from blissful, are raped by an equally disenfranchised assailant. Director Nagisa Oshima seems to argue that it is the horrid living conditions endured by the rapist and his victims, rather than the rape itself, that should be condemned. Oshima sustains audience interest with his lightning-paced editing, offering some 2000 separate shots in the space of 90 minutes. Violence at Noon begins simply, but ends in so complex a fashion that more questions are raised than can ever possibly be answered. The film's original Japanese title was Hakuchu no Torima. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi … More
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Critic Reviews for Hakuchu no torima (The Daylight Demon) (Violence at High Noon)
The film jumps back and forth in time, trades narrators and fragments the narrative in rapid cuts.
It might almost be a melodrama, save for all the political allegory, as Oshima asks how a seemingly civilised society can create and knowingly harbour a monster within.
Audience Reviews for Hakuchu no torima (The Daylight Demon) (Violence at High Noon)
I've been grinding through the Nagisa Oshima catalog for the past year or so, and "Violence at High Noon" was the last of his major films that I checked off.
Sorry to say that I didn't enjoy this one as much as I hoped. Much of the film's renown comes from its quick editing -- over 2,000 shots in all, according to whoever had the patience to count. But in this age of hyperactive, high-tech thrillers, the cuts aren't as jarring as they would have been in 1966. At this point, what's more notable is that no other Oshima movie is cut this way and, in fact, he has films such as "The Ceremony" that rely on unusually *long* shots.
"Violence at High Noon" opens with an intense, nine-minute sequence of a home invasion that leads to one woman being raped and another being murdered (both crimes occur off-camera -- no need to shield your eyes). From there, much of the story occurs in flashback. The attacker, Eisuke, is his victim's former lover. He has assaulted numerous women, and the police are on his trail. He is married to Matsuko, but the two have been apart due to his outlaw lifestyle. The raped woman, Shino, also was briefly married to Genji, a man who committed suicide for weakly defined reasons. Previously, Genji was involved with Matsuko too. All four characters once worked together in some failed, agricultural commune, but whatever insinuations Oshima is making about organized youth in Japan (a dominant concern of his work) are subordinate to the more specific tale of a crime spree.
Really, the above covers most of the story -- the film gives background more than it advances a plot. The script does not focus on Eisuke's mayhem but rather the reactions of Shino and Matsuko. Both women know he is the culprit whom the police seek, but wrestle with their consciences about whether to report him or not.
Kei Sato and Saeda Kawaguchi are excellent as Eisuke and Shino and they need to be, since so many harsh closeups force them to act with their faces alone. Akiko Koyama (Matsuko) is also quite good with her edgy air of smiling distress, but has a less demanding role.
I anticipated a more shocking, flamboyant film -- perhaps with a virtuoso, lightning sequence that did for rape what the shower scene of "Psycho" did for murder. "Violence at High Noon" does not supply this, but it does dig into some interesting, volatile characters.
[font=Century Gothic]In "Violence at Noon," Shino(Saeda Kawaguchi), a maid, is attacked and raped by Eisuke(Kei Sato) who is from her home village and according to him once saved her life. Once the police arrive, Shino surprisingly does not give him up, despite Eisuke being the nefarious High Noon Assailant and killing her employer. Instead, she writes Matsuko(Akiko Koyama), a schoolteacher and Eisuke's wife, asking what to do next.[/font]
[font=Century Gothic]"Violence at Noon" is a beautifully photographed, well-edited and potentially provocative movie that simply left me cold. None of these characters can escape their past with Matsuko literally being haunted by the ghost of Genji(Rokko Toura) who once had a chance to pursue a successful political career before committing suicide. In fact, starting with Matsuko's parents after a flood destroys their farm, there is much talk of suicide in the movie, but little of the accompanying hopelessness which would normally lead to such a drastic and ultimate action. Yes, being lonely can be a hard thing to endure but it is not the end of the world by any means.[/font]
Complex story about love, lonliness, lust, and death. Fairly competent performances, but would've benefitted from better performances. Interesting, experimental and free camera work. The two women at the end reminded me of Ingmar Bergman's Persona. But this film falls short of that kind of brilliance.More
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