In 1980 a man living in a remote Japanese village brutally murdered several members of his family before committing suicide. In HIMATSURI director Mitsuo Yanagimachi uses this incident to create a unique, highly intense story of one man's fight against the encroaching specter of Western
modernism in rural Japan.
Tatsuo (Kinya Kitaoji), a man of contradictory and often violent passions, engages in numerous affairs with no regard for his family's feelings and takes great pride in his skills as a survivalist. Living in an area where the ancient Shinto religion is firmly entrenched, Tatsuo boldly flaunts his
arrogant attitudes by exposing himself before swimming in a sacred lake. Yet he is not without some principles. Though he openly mocks the sacred codes reverently observed by the locals, he harbors deep respect for the natural beauty of the land.
HIMATSURI, much like Paul Schrader's MISHIMA, deals with the conflict between modernism and Japanese traditions. Tatsuo, overbearing and with little concern for others, does, however, maintain a germ of interest in tradition, and it spreads steadily through his consciousness. Mitsuo Yanagimachi's
direction emphasizes the relationship between man and nature, a harmony that grows more profound as the story develops.
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