Kairo/double-feature/Eureka talk show
Mon Feb 19 11:57:48 EST 2001
I had the opportunity to see the Inugami/Otogirisou double feature this
weekend, as well as catch Kairo a second time. The double feature was a
chore. Otogirisou played first, and by the time it was put to rest I didn't
have much interest left for Inugami. I more or less agree with Don's
earlier comments and think that Harada's film was good, but it was hard to
really enjoy after being bored to death by St. John's Wort. The people
around me seemed to be equally unimpressed; the audience reacted more to the
Doraemon movie trailer before the films than anything else during the 3 hour
Otogirisou was little more than a messy collection manga-ish cliches and
ideas borrowed from other horror movies. I was interested to see that
Producer Sento, who was subject of some discussion here recently,
co-produced and co-wrote the screenplay for the film. There was some talk
about his uncanny success rate in festivals and so forth... I wonder how
this one would do.
[Kairo] >And it's not as if this is a bad film.
I first saw this a week ago in the Kabukicho, in a theater drenched in the
color red; red seats, red walls, out-of-place red chairs sitting out in the
lobby smoking section and some odd pieces of red tape here and there on the
floor. I'm sure it wasn't intentional, but the atmosphere was set well,
matching with the tape, chairs, refrigerators, and Coca-Cola cans in the
It's hard to know what to make of Kairo though. I thought it was very
*interesting*, but as a whole it wasn't particularly entertaining or even
very scary. It was a little unsettling, and there were a few great 'horror'
scenes. Kurosawa sure knows which buttons to push. It's to his credit that
he uses those devices to make a very out-of-the-ordinary horror film.
Like his other recent work, the story seemed to be edging beyond simple
issues of identity and interpersonal communication and towards broader
political or historical allegory (I trust comparisons could be and are made
with Aoyama), but what we're left with at the end is still fairly ambiguous.
By the way, does anyone know what kind of plane that was supposed to be?
>I was still left with a slight aftertaste of deja-vu.
I was too. Forgetting Ooinaru Genei and other Kurosawa work for the moment,
I think I remember an American TV show episode from years ago (The Twilight
Zone, or maybe something more recent) about people starting to disappear in
a similar fashion. Kairo almost felt like a vampire movie in parts.
>Perhaps, like Fukasaku Kinji, he's trying to get his message out to "the
This is also something Miyazaki Hayao said repeatedly around the time of
Mononoke Hime. Why do there seem to be so many recent attempts by
filmmakers to grab the kids' attention? Or is this nothing new at all?
I also went to Eureka on Saturday night. Unfortunately the Jim O'Rourke
live set was cancelled, but in its place we got a short interview/discussion
between the musician and Aoyama Shinji. There were several interesting
comments. O'Rourke is very interested in movies himself, and it turns out
that the album Aoyama named his film after was itself named after a Nicholas
Roeg movie (Eureka, known in Japan as Rusty Gold, or Sabita Ougon, I think).
Same thing with O'Rourke's earlier instrumental album, Bad Timing (the
film is called "Jealousy" in Japan). He said he hadn't seen a film "as
perfect" as Eureka in many years. He also commented on Helpless a little,
making comparisons to Magnolia and the "characters who seem blind to the
rules of fate and feel that they can cheat them."
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