AKA: Ranpo Jigoku
Directed by: Akio Jissoji, Atsushi Kaneko, Hisayasu Sato, Suguru Takeuchi
Starring: Tadanobu Asano, Mikako Ichikawa, Hiroki Narimiya, Yumi Yoshiyuki, Ryuhei Matsuda
Country: Japan, Asian Cinema
Language: Japanese (English subtitles)
Genres: Bizarre-Surreal, Bondage, Detective-Mystery, Necrophilia, Rape-Sexual-Violence against Men, Rape-Sexual-Violence against Women, Torture, Gore-Gruesome
Plot – Spoilers:
Rampo Noir is a Japanese anthology of 4 shorts films with one recurring actor. Some of the segments have a touch of the surreal, but all are based off effed up themes in the stories of Japanese writer Edogawa Ranpo.
There’s one about a Shadow Mirror that destroys the faces of women who stare into it. This one is interestingly shot with almost every set replete with mirrors, leading to weird reflections and angles.
But two of our favourites involve the pathetic stories of people who indulge in bizarre displays of love. One of them involves the wife of an injured soldier who has returned from war disfigured and helpless and whom she decides to turn into her personal human caterpillar. The other one is about an obsessive driver with a strange allergy who sets out to ensure the woman he’s in love with remains forever beautiful, but doesn’t take into consideration the decomposition of a dead human body.
Both these leave you wondering about the realities. Did the soldier ever go to war? Was the dead bloated woman at the end ever a beautiful actress?