Violence at Noon looks at one men and two women, but it's certainly not a love triangle, at least in any 'normal' sense. The director, the iconoclast Nagisa Oshima, takes a decidedly non-linear approach to this story of a rapist and murderer who has ties to two women, one he raped many years before and his wife (or ex-wife perhaps).
I actually DID feel confused a lost a couple of time during the film, but only in the first half. It did jump around a lot, but after a certain point I clicked into Oshima's fast-paced rhythm (and it has about 2,000 cuts so that is a lot even by today's standards),and it has such a fiery sense of what is right and wrong and how the gray areas of the world just take over, and also how a rapist and murder can be understood, if certainly not "liked" at all. It's a dynamic, angry character, simmering and volatile, and when he's on screen you can't take your eyes off him (and it makes for one of the really great openings to any movie, as he enters a house and eyes a woman, a very dangerous-sexy scene).
I really got engrossed in this story of suicide, regret, guilt, and what happens when enveloped in society - that it's a murder mystery is so secondary a note, maybe even the last thing on Oshima's mind. In fact if it hadn't been for a scene on a train that is just shot very clumsily and pretentiously, it might be close to being a perfect "art" film, where a director takes some major chances with style and effect to tell his story. As it stands, I was drawn into Violence at Noon through the emotionally harrowing performances and the innovative editing (and even among other "New Wave" filmmakers of the era who used editing to unconventional effect this had an uncanny sense of going back and forth in time - taking on memory as snapshots, but still cohesive for a full story).
Hakuchû no tôrima is the portrayal of a violent rapist as seen through the recollections of his wife and one of his victims. As the film starts, Eisuke encounters Shino, who works as a maid in a house. She is a former coworker from a failed collective farm, whose life he once saved - only to rape her. Soon, Eisuke's criminal pattern of rapes and murders emerges as he goes on assaulting women. Shino witnesses of one of them, as Eisuke tries to violate her employer. When cooperating with the police on making a description of the rapist, Shino withholds her crucial knowledge of his identity. She prefers writing letters to Eisuke's dutiful wife, Matsuko, a schoolteacher, in order to expose his true nature and perhaps induce her into turning Eisuke over to the police.
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