12 October 2018 | boblipton
Fury Justifies Everything
It's the summer of 1945, and there is muttering that Japan may lose the war. Gô Katô is invalided out and joins what's left of his family -- his father and a brother have already perished in the struggle and his mother, grandmother and sisters are in a small village. The villagers don't like outsiders, but the son of the mayor, Bunta Sugawara, wants to marry the oldest sister. The trouble is that Gô saw him kill and rape civilians. His sister decides to not go through with the wedding.
Soon their garden is trampled, and the police refuse to prosecute. Soon other families are suffering depredations. The mayor and son spread rumors it is the refugees. Finally, the day comes when bad news overwhelms the town. Atomic bombs have fallen on Hiroshima and Nagasaki; eleven sons of the village have been killed in battle; and the mayor's son tries to rape Gô's sister and gets clouted in the head. His horse returns home and the village decides that he has been murdered and they should go and kill them all.
Keisuke Kinoshita wrote and directed this and it is a beautifully shot movie, that is difficult to take seriously at times. People in it act so stupidly. That's how mobs act, he seems to be saying: out of stupidity. However, as difficult as it is for me to watch it, it must have been harder for a contemporary Japanese audience. In prologue and epilogue, he makes it clear that no one will talk about it. It will become a legend, with demons doing all these things. No one will accept responsibility for their actions. No one will ever try to make them. It will just be some evil demon, who came and went, and they're lovely, lovely people.