Film Review: Coup d’Etat (1973) by Kiju Yoshida

After “Confessions Amongst Actresses”, director Kiju Yoshida returned to his political trilogy with “Coup d’Etat”, an account of the tried overthrow of the Japanese authorities on February 26, 1936. Just like the opposite entries of the trilogy”, “Eros + Bloodbath” and “Heroic Purgatory”, this remaining characteristic was additionally impressed by true occasions and a historic determine, on this case ultra-nationalist creator Ikki Kita, however is sort of a diversion, aesthetically and narratively, from the opposite components of the trilogy. In an introduction filmed in 2008, the director explains how the occasion performs a decisive function in the case of understanding the way in which Japan developed in direction of a extra nationalist and in the end militarist energy, which sparked its involvement in World Struggle II, but additionally paved the way in which for the protest motion of the Sixties, occasions he portrayed and referred to within the different options of the trilogy.

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After the suicide of his brother, who, earlier than killing himself, assassinated a consultant of a monetary group, creator Ikki Kita (Rentaro Kitamura) is each irritated and impressed by the occasions. Nevertheless, the occasion and the encounter with the reaming heads of the corporate encourage him to place into apply the grasp plan of overthrowing the federal government, an concept he had launched in his work “Outlaw Plan of Reorganization”, which resulted in him and his household being noticed by the Secret Police. Regardless of some resistance and personal issues, he shortly gathers individuals round him, a few of which former troopers or members of the navy hierarchy, greater than keen to help his concepts.

As his concepts appear to encourage increasingly individuals round him, not solely does the Secret Police improve their surveillance of the creator, Kita himself begins to have problems with his personal. Beside the quarrels along with his spouse Suzu (Yasuyo Matsumura) about her being with out youngster and the way he has develop into too preoccupied along with his theories than along with his household, a soldier (Yasuo Miyake) additionally seeks solace and religious steering from the mental. With the coup d’etat approaching, his household and colleagues observe the as soon as so calm creator turning into extra paranoid, even questioning whether or not his plan may truly work in apply, and if the Emperor will truly see the chance he and his followers have given him.

Within the aforementioned introduction to the characteristic, Yoshida explains his personal reference to the occasions of February 1936 and the way they relate to the tumultuous Sixties and early Seventies. Whereas “Heroic Purgatory” gives a skeptical view on whether or not the socio-political adjustments the youth of the earlier decade had fought for would have a long-lasting impact within the years to return, “Coup d’Etat” goes again previously to discover Japan’s historical past, doable causes for the sort of social unrest, whereas additionally presenting a psychological profile of the nation. In a means, “Coup d’Etat” appears extra a precursor to options like Paul Schrader’s “Mishima: A Life in 4 Chapters”, though Yoshida is much less fascinated with Kita’s precise work and extra within the historic occasions and their course, whereas Schrader additionally explored the literary works of creator Yukio Mishima. Nevertheless, each characters, Mishima and Kita, have develop into considerably absorbed by the fact of their theories and concepts, misplaced to any sort of self-reflection and the way their ideology could spark much more violence than unity.

Compared to the opposite entries within the political trilogy, “Coup d’Etat”, as talked about earlier than, is way extra linear, whereas additionally highlighting its director’s talent when combining aesthetics with content material. Very like his work in “Heroic Purgatory”, cinematographer Motokichi Hasegawa continuously portrays characters from a barely odd angle, virtually completely off-center, leading to a becoming mirror of their inside turmoil. Together with Rentaro Kitamura’s lead efficiency, this method gives a novel key in understanding the emotional and psychological improvement of the character, whose predilection in direction of masochism, self-harm and self-loathing results in a relatively problematic picture of sure social tendencies Kita symbolized within the eyes of many. Moreover, the music by composer Toshi Ichiyanagi emphasizes the aforementioned improvement of the character and his environment, from a sure calmness, highlighted by stunning piano music, becoming dysfunction, burdened via psychedelic, chaotic themes.

In conclusion, “Coup d’Etat” is a captivating characteristic in regards to the occasions of February 1936, and their doable connections to the sociopolitical improvement of Japan. Kiju Yoshida combines a extra conventional narrative method with an aesthetic and performances highlighting problematic tendencies inside the character of a nation and its relationship to its previous.

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