VenueWalter Reade Theater
The second film in a trilogy (inaugurated by Eros + Massacre) concerning 20th-century Japanese history, Heroic Purgatory is a kaleidoscopic, mazelike memory piece that is perhaps Yoshida’s most recognizably avant-garde work. Its narrative follows an atomic engineer whose past as a college-age revolutionary militant erupts into the present when he arrives home from work to find that his wife has taken in a young girl who claims to be his daughter. His personal history fragmentarily flits into view, and Yoshida weaves from it a dense audiovisual tapestry, arriving at a challenging, mesmerizing film that visionarily engages the political complexities of postwar Japan. Print courtesy of the National Film Archive of Japan.