Dogra Magra

Alexander Jacoby a_p_jacoby
Thu Jun 22 13:20:25 EDT 2006

Points taken that the film is very difficult to interpret conclusively... I was struck by the fact that the doctors seemed to be playing with the patient. Would anyone agree with my interpretation: that the film is implying that science is not simply an objective way of looking at the world, but a mechanism by which the qualified (ie, the doctors) exert authority over the unqualified (the patients). In which case, one may assume that the hero never murdered anyone, and that the murder has been fabricated by the doctors to give them an excuse to experiment on the hero... Anyone else think this a reasonable interpretation?


Toshie Mori <toshie.mori at> wrote:
      Dear Alex,
  They are very reasonable questions! What a coincidence! I saw the film a little while ago. 
  Dogra Magra was based on a famous novel written in 1935 by Yumeno Kyusaku and it was his last work that took him almost ten years to complete. The plot is really long and consists of the complex pros and cons. It might be important to read the original novel because it will be understood that the film is a short version of the original story. Unfortunately in the film the important contexts are lost, which was criticised by some critics.  
  Then it is wondered how far we can answer the questions you have posed. There are at least two significant characteristics to the clues. Firstly the last part of the novel comes the first sequence in the film that consequently denies the simple scheme of the filmic plot. Secondly Dogura Magura is presented in the film in the form of the novel written by the main character so that the construction of the novel itself has also become uncertain, like the effect of the mirror in the mirror. In fact the construction of the novel develops in a more complicated way than the film. 
  Interestingly it is said that the person who has managed to read the whole would become insane. 
  In order to answer all the questions that you have asked you had better read the novel but the aftermath of your reading would be disastrous! So you cannot still get the answer! 
  (In fact it's fun to read it as I did!!!)
  Additionally the actor, who played the role of Dr. Masaki used to be a very talented kansai based rakugo-ka but unfortunately he committed suicide because of his serious depression a few years ago.
  Toshie Mori
   ----Original Message-----
From: owner-KineJapan at [mailto:owner-KineJapan at]On Behalf Of Alexander Jacoby
Sent: Thursday, June 22, 2006 10:22 PM
To: KineJapan at
Subject: Dogra Magra

    Dear All,
  Having just watched Toshio Matsumoto's Dogra Magra, I wonder how people on the list have reacted to it and how much of the story people think is real. In Matsumoto's early Pandemonium / Shura, there are many scenes where the director plays tricks with the viewer so that's it's initially confusing as to whether a particular scene is supposed to have really happened, or be taken as fantasy (an example the murder of the young couple early in the film). In Pandemonium, however, these issues are usually resolved so that by the end of the film one knows basically what has happened. Dogra Magra is not like this, since the film is seen from the perspective of an amnesiac. I'm wondering how much of the narrative one can have any confidence in at all. My basic questions are:
  1) How many people, if any, were really murdered - when and where?
  2) Who by? Is the young man really guilty either of the murder shown in the flashback, or of the one which allegedly took place inside the asylum?
  3) Is the young man really the person who the doctors claim he is?
  4) Is it possible that the whole incident has been fabricated by the doctors for their own purposes? - ie experimental research?
  If people feel that the answer to all these questions is, We don't know, and that's the point of the film, then fair enough. But I'm wondering if I may have missed some subtle clues as to which of the events we're to interpret as really real!


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