Coup d'Etat

1973 [JAPANESE]

Biography / Drama / History

3
IMDb Rating 6.9 10 348

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Synopsis


Uploaded By: FREEMAN
June 07, 2020 at 11:00 AM

Cast

720p.BLU 1080p.BLU
1009.23 MB
968*720
Japanese 2.0
NR
23.976 fps
1 hr 49 min
P/S 1 / 6
1.83 GB
1440*1072
Japanese 2.0
NR
23.976 fps
1 hr 49 min
P/S 1 / 6

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by mevmijaumau 9 / 10

Unusual '70s Biopic

In 1936, the 10th year of Showa, Japan was torn between the ideas of modernization and conservative forces. With the power of military on the rise, certain extreme right-wing politicians and authors fueled the ultranationalists' ideals, and one of them, Ikki Kita, is particularly notable for influencing the notorious attempt of overthrowing the government in February 1936, which cost him his life as he was later executed. He strongly believed in "kaigenrei" (martial law), a step toward the inception of a totalitarist regime controlled by the Emperor.

Coup D'Etat, like some other Yoshishige Yoshida films, also sports an annoying alternative title, Martial Law (which is basically the literate translation of the original title, Kaigenrei), and is the third movie in Yoshida's Japanese Radicalism Trilogy, preceded by Eros + Massacre (1969) and Heroic Purgatory (1970). It is structured like an expressionistic biopic of Ikki Kita's final days. The movie doesn't provide any exposition (except maybe for those title cards in Japanese I couldn't read because I've seen the film with faulty subtitles which left the text screens untranslated), and doesn't seem to focus much on building an accurate picture of the period it's set in, or detailing the coup itself. Instead it mostly focuses on Kita's psychological motivation, his relationship with his childless wife and adopted son, as well as with a young soldier who ends up betraying him, symbolically demonstrating that Kita's uber-traditionalist world-views don't resonate much with younger generations. By the way, the 1936 incident also inspired famous writer Yukio Mishima's story, later adapted into film - Patriotism. Interestingly enough, Coup D'Etat was released the same year as the Chilean coup d'etat took place - 1973.

Rentaro Mikuni delivers a fantastic performance as Ikki Kita and completely owns every second of his screen time with his dark presence. He's frequently seen praying to a shrine in his house or masochistically punishing himself for betraying his principles in a while. The movie is very minimalistic in tone (after all, it was produced with the help of Art Theatre Guild and filmed with a small budget), but it surprisingly works very well. There's no much, if any, action, and the film is completely dialogue-driven, most of which you won't understand if you've seen the same crappily-subtitled version as I did.

The cinematography is, as usual with Yoshida, quite striking. The establishing shots are unconventional, the shots themselves never repeat, even in the mundane conversation scenes, and the characters are always obscured by a foreground object, or placed somewhere on the screen's very boundaries. They are often seen as dark figures with half- lit faces in midst of a huge slice of negative space.

The soundtrack is also very interesting - it goes from orchestral and traditional music to schizophrenic electronic beeps and bloops reminiscent of the soundtrack to CrazyBus on Sega Genesis. The movie also has plenty natural sounds, most prominent of which are crows squawking, therefore serving as an omen to the coup's ultimate failure and Kita's demise. The music, especially at the start, sounds actually pretty creepy, and, together with claustrophobic shots of characters enveloped in darkness, makes you feel like you're in a nightmare.

Coup D'Etat was actually the Japanese submission for the 46th Academy Awards, for the Best Foreign Language Film category, but unfortunately wasn't accepted as a nominee. Yoshida considered the film to be a completion of his work and left filmmaking for the next 13 years (he even lived in Mexico for a bit), returning with A Promise (1986). During his pause, he directed a documentary series about art, called Beauty of Beauty (Bi no Bi), from 1973 to 1978, which is so obscure that it isn't even listed on IMDb. I'd like to see this little series as well.

Coup D'Etat has great atmosphere and performances, but unfortunately the story didn't do much for me. You really need to have a grasp on the political current in '30s Japan, or you'll get completely lost, so in a way this is Yoshida's most "Japanese" film, as opposed to his anti- melodramas which felt like French New Wave films instead.

Reviewed by Steven_Harrison 10 / 10

Mesmerizing Political Biopic from Underacclaimed New Wave Director

Yoshida "Kiju" Yoshida directed his last film for some time in 1973. This was a strange biopic about a military obsessive and nationalist socialist named Ikki Kita, somewhat in the style of Hitler, who encouraged a coup against the Japanese government in 1936 (infamously known as the "February 26th incident".) I say strange because a number of choices were made which gave the film a unique place in the history of biopics and specifically historical reenactments of the coup. Rarely has a biographical film been done with such a confident and dramatic touch.

Yoshida's framing is the stuff of film legend, nearly always placing figures at the edges of cinema (and therefore not altogether video friendly, before the advent of DVD that is.) It's a nearly dizzying effect handled graciously, which lends the events a larger than life feeling, that feels artistically justified instead of rammed down your throat. The black and white colors are used to their most effective ends, with entrancing expressionistic details. Textures of wood and granite play a large part in setting moods, along with a lack of establishing shots and action sequences, making this a more quiet film than anyone would expect of its reputation and name.

The music choices of Ichiyanagi Sei, who worked on a number of Yoshida films, recalls Jissouji's Mujo (or This Transient Life) which seems as interested in minor key fiddle flourishes as Takemitsu styled percussion explosions. The score also boasts a twice repeated analog keyboard motif, which shows the melancholy and absence of life among the militarists. It underscores both a reprehensibly dour dream sequence, and channels an avant funeral march before the credits roll. Watkins' Edward Munch and 32 Short Films about Glenn Gould come to mind in the use of music effectively rendering someone's life story to film.

In regards to its place among reenactments, as Joan Mellen noted in Waves at Genji's Door, most filmed versions of this story encourage a sentimentalism of the officers involved, as they were merely doing the most honorable thing they could imagine by assisting the Emperor in getting rid of the waste of civilian bureaucracy. The officers are treated with sympathy, but more for their naiveté in the face of the unknown future, rather than Yoshida siding with their proto-fascists ways.

The major emotional issues in the film stem from Ikki's childhood and paternal issues towards his stepson, and how that carries over into his dealings with one of the more inept but sincere acolytes. Ikki's dealings with authority figures is flippant at best, and he seems to regard society as a mere gesture, with martial law being the only true way for humanity to progress. Yoshida's rendering of these beliefs should be held up with his even more powerful Eros Plus Massacre, where Taisho anarchism and the late 60s student movement are entangled and commenting on one another. There, Yoshida appears to be telling us something about the nature of humanity, in that it doesn't really change, but only cons one into thinking it will. In Coup d'etat, Yoshida seems to be saying not only will things remain the same, but they're usually worse than you realize.

Reviewed by gavin6942 6 / 10

Japanese Radicalism, Part Three

A freestyle biopic of Ikki Kita (1883-1937), the ultranationalist intellectual whose ideas inspired the failed military coup in 1936.

This was Japan's submission to the 46th Academy Awards for the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film but it was not accepted as a nominee. A shame, really, but it is a small slot that these films have to fight to get into.

Although I cannot say I am crazy about this film, I will say that I have to appreciate that this one, as well as "Eros", bring to life historic figures in Japan. For whatever reason, Japanese history is not really well-known in America. Or at least it was never taught to me. Aside from their role in World War II, I had no idea about the political history of the country beyond broad ideas. This sort of makes me more interested in the culture.

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