Imagine the following scenario: a millenary cult commits a terrorist attack on a major metro subway line, filling the cars with poison gas and killing many passengers. In the investigation that follows, it is learned that the cult is not only widespread and deep-pocketed, but peopled with highly-regarded intellectuals from the nation's top universities. What kind of shockwaves would that send through the halls of power? What kind of intellectual chill would result? That's roughly the situation that Japan faced in 1995, in the aftermath of the Aum Shinri Kyo cult's nerve gas attack on the Tokyo Metropolitan Subway. Four hundred suspected collaborators and fellow travelers were arrested following that attack, although some of the leadership went uncaught. The cult -- its members, its practices, its mythology -- vaulted to the forefront of Japanese consciousness and never left. Over ten years later, stories about the potential resurfacing of the cult and its leaders still make for easy, scary headlines and gel nicely with the image Japan exports through its entertainment, of a society with ghosts practically falling out of the walls. Akihiko Shiota's Kanariais a thinly fictionalized take on the societal fallout of the attack.

categories Cinematical