After his brother is killed by yakuza for an unpaid loan taken on his behalf to finance films, Shinji takes a turn toward masochism to both assuage his guilt and save his own life. Literally and figuratively torturing himself by charging bar patrons and gangsters to land punches on his frail frame, he slowly works off his debt to his brother’s killers one hit at a time.
Iranian-born writer/director Amir Naderi mourns the immanent loss of his beloved cinema through this modern parable set in Japan. From Kenji Mizoguchi to Akira Kurosawa, he pays homage to the Japanese masters through style and form as well as character and story. Reflective long takes, graphic violence, stylized black and white, and unconcealed metaphor pervade this call-to-action of a film, imploring audiences and filmmakers to support the claim that “True cinema is not built on money; true cinema is made of flesh and bones.” It may be actors speaking in Japanese, but the words and voice you hear are distinctly Naderi’s. [Synopsis courtesy of Tribeca Film Festival.]