DVDs & Imamura again

M Arnold ma_iku
Wed Nov 14 23:59:39 EST 2001

I went to the video store and found that the DVD of Somai Shinji's Kaza Hana 
was off the "new releases" shelf, with nice new orange "one week rental" 
sticker.  I watched it on Monday night and thought it was all right.  (Is 
this going to make anyone's top 10 list?)  The disc has quite a bit of 
supplemental material, including "making of" footage, trailers and English 
subtitles.  The English translation was a little strange in parts, but the 
rest of the DVD was done very well.  The picture was great.

I finally decided to pass on the Suzuki Seijun boxed set and instead bought 
the DVD for Zigeunerweisen alone.  I'm very happy I got this one--I watched 
a little of the beginning and the picture was probably the clearest, 
cleanest transfer I've seen on a Japanese DVD.  It seems there are still 
some marks on the print they used, but overall I'm very, very impressed.  I 
need to look at some of the darker scenes and see how they turned out too.

I used my second ticket to see Warm Water Under a Red Bridge last Saturday.  
It was a 4:00 showing this time and the theater was a little more crowded 
than the last time--a few young couples, lots of 50 or 60 year old men, and 
several older gentlemen with 20-something female companions.  There were 
probably 50 people in the theater.

The poster outside the theater says something like, "A Fantasy Love Story 
for Adults," but as I overheard one fellow say to his date when I was 
walking out, "It's hard to know what [the movie] was trying to say..."  I'd 
probably agree with the late, homeless "sex philosopher" who keeps talking 
to Sasano in flashbacks and dreams ("Joshiki no naka de annani mizu ga deru 
ka?!") and choose to take it as making fun of the men's "fantasies" rather 
than catering to them.  All in all it was just too ridiculous to take 
honestly, especially with the absurd symbolism, and I again found myself 
laughing at the screen a lot.  (Like during Yakusho's first nude scene, when 
he dreams he's in the womb.  He took of his clothes 3 times in the film... 
maybe that's why it was rated R-15?)  But looking over at the rest of the 
audience, what did they think... ?

The Saeko character certainly is shallow, but this time I found myself 
wondering if that was really a handicap for the film.  Shimizu's shallow 
acting may have produced just the kind of woman that shallow fantasies 

Anyway, if anyone else sees the film I'd be curious to hear their ideas.
Is it true what the web page says, that the movie got a 15 minute standing 
ovation at Cannes?

Michael Arnold

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