KAIN NO MATSUEIAt 15, Munakata murdered his mother. After spending ten years in juvenile detention, he is released and promised a job at an electronics film near Kawasaki. But the factory and the life there turn out to be just another prison.
Not just one, but all of the characters in this disconcerting film are given a kind of mark of Cain. Each of them seems to have made himself or herself guilty, and will continue to be guilty. Even if not all of the criminal acts are brought to light, they monopolize the images. As flashback, as foreshadow, as a permanent palpable stain, that further horrors will take place. The naive Munakata lands in a spiral of odd sexual excess and monstrous violence. Oku Shutaro follows the rules of the popular Japanese mystery genre in his film to deal with the human, moral, and religious dimensions of guilt. Like a grey bank of clouds, guilt has set in over the industrial park of Kawasaki with its ever-churning smokestacks, and transformed it into a kind of purgatory.