Credit: Kadokawa Corp
by Brad Hanford Featured Film Retrospective

Boundaries Are Permeable: Thoughts On Japan Society’s Shinji Sōmai Retrospective

May 19, 2023

A high-angle shot of a yakuza and his girlfriend continues following the woman overhead as she crosses a street to a school swimming pool. The camera then passes over the pool’s fence and lands on portly bully Deguchi, who calls out from atop a diving board, “I have an important announcement! You all suck!” The camera descends and tracks around the pool as Deguchi and his cohorts continue to taunt their classmates, until the off-screen sound of motorcycle engines pulls attention to the neighboring school courtyard, where a group of rebellious students circle an overmatched teacher on motor scooters. The bullies join in the fun, until finally three of their victims confront Deguchi with the promise of revenge. Suddenly, the yakuza seen in the earlier shot enters through the school gate and accosts Deguchi, just before a car pulls up [from behind him], and chief bully is yanked through the window with a fishing net. The rest of the kids, and the camera, chase after the car as it speeds away, at which point one kid turns to the others and asks, “Was… that a kidnapping?”

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Published as part of InRO Weekly — Volume 1, Issue 20.