Tales of a Terror Cult: A/A2 [2 Discs] [DVD]

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Overview

Special Features

  • A-special features:
  • Facets cine-notes collectible booklet
  • Original japanese trailers for A & A2
  • A2-special features:

Synopsis

A
The 1995 sarin gas attack on the Tokyo subway shook Japanese society, resulting in bitter recriminations and national soul-searching comparable to Watergate in America. The group responsible -- Aum Shinrikyo -- was little known to the average Japanese. Believing in a mixture of varying strands of Buddhism along with elements of New Age spiritualism and with rumors of drug-use and bizarre rituals, the group and its members were widely vilified by Japan's voracious media. Six months after the gas attack when Aum's original leaders -- guru Shoko Asahara along with Ikuo Hayashi, Fumihiro Joyu, and others -- were carted off to jail, documentary filmmaker Tatsuya Mori approached Aum to shoot an objective fly-on-the-wall-style documentary about this much discussed and maligned sect. Focusing on the Aum's most visible member, not jailed Hiroshi Araki, Mori shows how frighteningly ordinary these members are. This film was screened at the 1999 Yamagata Documentary Film Festival. ~ Jonathan Crow, Rovi

A2
The captivating story of the notorious Aum Shinrikyo cult continues in director Tatsuya Mori's fascinating follow-up to the 1998 documentary A. In 1995 Aum leader Shoko Asahara went to trial for his role in the 1995 poison gas attack on the Tokyo subways, but even as he languished behind bars his followers continued to maintain their extreme beliefs and doctrines. In the years that followed a name change and a new leader found the Aum cult attempting to distance themselves from the horrors of the past, though harsh criticism and constant attacks from the media, the authorities, and everyday citizens made the prospect of lying low increasingly difficult. In addition to broadening his scope to get a better understanding of Aum's inner workings, director Mori's sequel also provides remarkable insight into the more unseemly aspects of modern day Japan. ~ Jason Buchanan, Rovi

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