Kairo/double-feature/Eureka talk show

M Arnold ma_iku
Mon Feb 19 11:57:48 EST 2001

Hello everyone

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.

Don Brown:
[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."

Michael Arnold
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