Retribution | Kiyoshi Kurosawa, 2006
“I felt lonely for so long. Since then, all my senses, memories, and emotions as a human disappeared one by one, and only despair was left at the end.”
The pain of Kurosawa’s ghosts is the perpetual despair of lost love, and an agonising emptiness impelled by the loneliness of the modern world. In Retribution, two ghosts in red dresses embody this pain in oppositional ways: a woman taking revenge on those who she believes killed her through inaction and neglect, and a detective’s ex-lover pretending to be alive to spare him the anguish of her death. One's dress is vivid red, unadorned, invasive; the other's is more muted, emblazoned with red flowers and splashed with the green of their leaves. An evocative emptiness and an imitation of life, a murderous rage and an enduring love. Both are stuck irretrievably in death, and neither can leave life behind — but empty rage can be satiated. Fake flowers never die.