158) Vacation (2008) Dir: Hajime Kadoi Not Yet Released Date Seen: June 2nd, 2009 Rating: 4/5
Hajime Kadoi's Vacation is an exceptionally potent melodrama about life in prison as it does not claim to fully understand the emotions of either an inmate or a guard. Even during a flashback that looks to give us insight into the psyche of Toru (Kaoru Kobayashi), a guard working on death row, there's no sense that you're seeing a definitive explication of the man's preceding or future actions. The emotional vacuum that envelopes the prison's rituals and regulations in the film is relentless, distilling raw emotions through silent and deceptively inhumane protocols. I doubt I will see anything as frightening as the scene where prisoner Kaneda (Hidetoshi Nishijima) sees his sister for the last time or his long, drawn-out execution this year.