Death by Hanging
Nagisa Oshima / JP / 1968 / 117'
35mm / VOST FR & NL OND
In this blasting of capital punishment (still in vigour in Japan) and racist nationalism, Ôshima shows with humour and ferocity the hanging of a Korean youth charged with the rape and murder of Japanese women. The rituals framing the final moments of the soon-to-be hanged man are without aplomb - until the hanging itself, where even though the culprit has a noose around his neck, he is still breathing! Worse yet, he appears to have lost his memory and is now but a mere lamb. The Nippon code is stringent on this level: one cannot apply capital punishment to a man who has lost his mind. In order to remediate the situation, a small troupe forms in order to re-establish the man’s diabolical nature, so his hanging will be once again justified. We see Adachi in one of the main roles of the film - as a prison guard, no less.