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Despite a lengthy filmography that began in the 1960s, Nobuhiko Obayashi is known in the West mainly for his 1977 feature debut “House.” This horror-fantasy about a house that devours its inhabitants is a surreal riot of the imagination that tosses local filmmaking conventions out the window.

Four decades later the riot continues in Obayashi’s new film, “Hanagatami,” but the subject, based on Kazuo Dan’s 1937 novel, is the lives of teenagers in Karatsu, Saga Prefecture, on the eve of war. Instead of toning down his signature style for this tragic story of youth cut short, Obayashi amplifies it. The result is a phantasmagoria of rapid cutting, perfervid acting and extravagant visuals, with the moon a giant ball bathing the sea and islands near Karatsu in heavenly splendor. It’s as though every frame has been Photoshopped out of any relation to reality.

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