So, to immediately contrast what I just wrote, the next film our professor showed was a piece of propaganda from the Ultranationalistic Japanese side, all by one dude, that came out in the late 60's. Supposedly this fuckwit wanted to restore the glory and honor of Japan that it had had during WWII. Now, this moron had been too young to fight in the actual war, so methinks a bit of disassociation resulted. Anyways, same deal, here are my notes on the piece. This one's less WHAAARGGGGABBLLLE and more "sweet onion chutney this is retarded", but I think it's an interesting bit as well.
Rite of Love and Death- Mishima Yukio.
Private home movie- famous, ultranationalist Japanese author in 64/65. Tried to rekindle Japanese militaristic spirit after the western conquest.
Written, acted in, and directed by this guy. No dialogue, silent movie. Group of young radicals in 34 decided to restore the Emperor to power. Shows the con
Reiko, the lieutenants wife has seen in her husbands face the resolution to diea as he leaves for the palace in the morning following the coup…and I missed the rest.
Kanji on the wall means “be sincere/dedicate yourself” as we see this woman doing calligraphy. Shot of porcelain animals. The woman takes one and holds it, thinking of a hand that I assume is her husband, seeing the back of his head as he…shapes her face in his hands? Weird. Dude hugs his wife as he’s in uniform, and she doesn’t even move, just kinda gets knocked over. Shots of hands moving. All of this is with dramatic music that seems really inappropriate. Shinto shrine floating in midair that she’s picturing.
Ch. 2 At midnight, the lieutenant appears at the door, the guard has been changed and he has to go kill his comrades in the morning. He’s got to kill them to remain loyal, but he can’t so he’s going to kill himself, and apparently his wife’s coming with him.
He’s coming home, hands her his sword and coat, they’re sitting, her Seiza, him Indian-style. Woman brings him the calligraphy she was writing earlier, he goes to hold her. They reenact killing themselves, because this is a cheap home movie and they don’t actually have special effects. He mimes stabbing himself in the gut classic style, she does herself in the throat. They make out.
This is a pure and passonate as a ritual counducted before the gods. They are alble for the first time in their lives to reveal unabsshadly their most secret desires and passions…missed the rest, and now they’re naked next to each other. Did they not fuck beforehand? A sword, then alternating shots of their eyes…now they’re making out more and apparently actually doing it, and I’m wondering if this is a propaganda piece or just a couple’s sex tape….as the scene goes on, it’s looking more and more like a sex tape. Something…fuzzy, I guess it’s her hair. See dude now in uniform, he closes her eyes, holds her face, kisses her. Shot of various supposedly beautiful parts of her, but the melodrama is killing me here. More making out and the sex tape theory is looking stronger and stronger.
Ch. 4- the lieutenant does himself in.
He’s in a diaper, puts on a kimono, they write out calligraphy that I can’t read, shot of that Shinto shrine from before, he actually puts on his uniform, and then sits in the traditional position as his wife sits with him. She bows, he takes the wakizashi, wipes it off, and unbuttons his shirt…and takes off his pants. Not making this up, folks. Ouch, he’s going for the femoral artery…or the gut. The gut works, too. Mimes stabbing himself, because again, no FX Budget, and does the cut across his gut, with fake blood spilling out, and that actually looks pretty realistic…I guess, having never seen any fillet themselves bfore. Wife is getting blood on her kimono and crying, and dude hams up the death scene even without dialogue. He’s really bloody. This is why they had a dude with a sword behind you, to whack you so you don’t die horribly like this. Wife wants to stay with him , can’t move, and looks like a puppet as she goes over to him and he continues to ham out the death scene. Now, how does she kill herself?
Ch. V- Reiko’s Suicide.
Guess we’ll find out, eh? She walks around her husband’s body, goes into the next room, goes into her won little room if the little beauty thingamabob’s anything to go by, she goes up to it, takes out a mirror, and starts doing makeup. Gotta be pretty when you die, eh sister? Ooh, she’s got a knife in her kimono. She goes back to herdear old dead husband, having stabbed herself and bleeding out, and tracing blood all over the nice floor. Where’d she stab herself? I don’t really care. She puts the dude’s hat back on his head, then places his body laying faceup, and apparently the knife is through his neck? She kisses him and did she stab herself or not? Oh, no, not yet. She takes out her little tanto and apparently all the blood was his, and she stabs herself in the head with the knife and kills herself, and they’re all lying there pretty. They got transferred into one of those zen sand gardens somehow.
This is from the people who brought you Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha, folks.
And here's a bit of story about what happened to this nutjob.
Mishima made film to try and encourage the spirit of nationalism and sacrifice that he thought had been lost- the militant nationalism- by the US occupation. Mishima and about a dozen friends trained with the JSDF, so he knew something about the army, and he had some images about what he imagined the dedication of the army to be. In 1970, he and a small group made an appointment with a general of the SDF forces, took control, and tried to harangue assembled troops into reestablishing the emperor as a political force, and then went inside and committed seppuku. His second performed kaishaku-nii (I probably butchered that), and screwed it up, couldn’t do it, so another dude did it for him and the second killed himself as well. The general got out alive. Japanese reaction- some ultranationalists thoguth this was a dramatic symbol of his commitment to regaining japan’s pride, others thought it was a ludicrous statement from a fringe nutjob. Laughed at by the troops he rallied- they threw things at him. Japanese society figured he was an anachronism. At 45, he was scared of aging, wanted to go out with a bang. Wanted to recreate the image of the fanatical dedication to purpose and virulent belief in the divinity of the emperor.