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THE MYSTERY OF RAMPO

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THE MYSTERY OF RAMPO Naoto Takenaka, Michiko Hada (1994, Evergreen, unrated, subtitled, priced for rental) Seldom, if ever, have the emotional explosions of the creative imagination been as elegantly or movingly portrayed as in Kazuyoshi Okuyama’s rapturous film about a writer’s inner life. The popular mystery novelist of the title, Rampo (Takenaka), becomes obsessed with one of his characters, a beautiful but perhaps deadly woman named Shizuko (Hada). For the reserved but passionate Rampo, the reality of his own feelings and the fantasy of his creations intersect in a dazzling display of imagery (including kaleidoscopic computer animation approximating the inside of his mind). With a master’s assurance, Okuyama has given us a great love story — between a man and his pen — and crafts a thriller of the heart. And since the movie vanished so quickly from art houses, video provides a second chance to apprehend its quicksilver qualities. A

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