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The moral universe of most commercial films is simple: The good guys prevail, the bad guys are punished — and we are seldom in doubt as to who is who. But what if the bad guys deserve sympathy, even the ones who commit horrific crimes? Is that, in a movie world that prefers black and white to gray, even possible?

Keisuke Yoshida unhesitatingly answers “yes” in his new film “Himeanole,” which had its world premiere at last month’s Udine Far East Film Festival in Italy. This is uncommon indeed in Hollywood, where characters who cross over to the dark side are typically targeted for spectacularly fatal retribution, not commiseration. But Yoshida, who wrote the script based on Minoru Furuya’s alternative manga of the same title, questions whether “choice” exists when the strong crush the weak — and the weak go homicidally mad.

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