Independent in every sense, Mori's ciné-vérité documentary gets inside the remnants of the Aum Shinrikyo cult after the arrest of its leaders for ordering the Tokyo subway sarin gas attack in March 1995. Mori focuses on the cult's junior spokesman Hiroshi Araki, a confused 28-year-old drop-out who has tried to sever family ties and turn his back on the materialism of 'Japan Inc'. Although it makes the most of a level of access denied to the mass media, the film doesn't attempt to analyse Aum or to account for its terrorist acts. Mori's real subject is the reason such cults exist and attract educated disciples; scrupulously impartial, he provides all the evidence necessary to ask very awkward questions about the state and the people. It rivals The Emperor's Naked Army as the most ornery Japanese documentary of recent times.
Tatsuya Mori, Takaharu Yasuoka
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