Tenshi no Kôkotsu
1972 / 89m - Japan
Action, Drama, Mystery
Ecstasy of the Angels poster


December 18, 2005


The (late) 60s were the prime years of Wakamatsu's career, but he was able to extend it for a short period during the early 70s. Ecstacy of the Angels will feel like a very familiar film to fans of his 60s work, but as this was only my second Wakamatsu film, it still felt very fresh and novel. The little dash of Nouvelle Vague just made it all the more interesting.

The Four Seasons Association is a group of activists who yearn for political change. When they are formed, the will to make a real difference is huge, but slowly they begin to lose motivation, which leads to pleasureless orgies and random violence. The association slowly starts to crumble, but some of them don't want to lose their newfound community.

The mix of black-and-white and color cinematography is interesting (and beautifully realized), the political elements are a tad overzealous but they add character, and the brutal finale is vintage Wakamatsu. It's certainly not an easy watch, then again, this was never an easy director. One of his better films, and a strong recommendation for people who love his early work.