[KineJapan] Cannes and Koreeda

Bob Davis rwdavisjr at ca.rr.com
Mon May 27 01:33:25 EDT 2013

> Koreeda Hirokazu's Soshite chichi ni naru (Like Father, Like Son) was given the Jury Award at this year's Cannes Film Festival. 

fwiw, I saw it, and the Miike, along with all the other competition films in Cannes this year. You can find longer reviews from Variety, Screen, Hollywood Reporter, etc. If you're too lazy for that:

As you probably know, the Kore'eda was made for Fuji TV and treats material typical of what we used to called "disease of the week" TV movies, here the case of two children switched at birth. The themes (nature versus nurture) and the drama (will two socio-economically different sets of parents with very different parenting strategies decide to exchange their six-year-old boys?) the film explores are the cliched ones. Their execution, though, is expert. The children (the two boys and two siblings of one of them) and all but one of the adults are perfectly cast, give very good performances. Camera style and lighting subtlety differentiate the two home environments. A reasonable prize-winner from the Spielberg jury.

Miike's Straw Shield was, according to critical consensus, horrible. In it, an aging billionaire tries to bribe the entire nation of Japan, offering like 100,000 USD to anyway who kills the young man who raped and murdered his granddaughter. The film follows the four special forces security agents assigned to transport the suspect from Kyushu to Tokyo. Nice premise. But the film, sadly, reeks of total sell-out. After the first two shots, there's no Miike ‘flavor’ here – neither the perverted, ultra-violent Miike nor the more artistically minded Miike. Almost as disappointing, the movie isn’t even a particularly well-designed thriller. All the characters are alike – each has lost a daughter or wife to a violent crime, and each repeats the same tired question about whether a scumbag child-killer is worth protecting. Half a dozen plot points are revealed in cell phone conversations. And the action scenes – like the one in which a truck filled with nitroglycerin rams several dozen police cars in an attempt to get near the murderer – deliver “production value” but no real thrills. A waste of time and money.

While I'm at at, two quick notes about films I saw at HK Festival two months ago. Ishikawa Hiroshi's Petal Dance, which premiered in HK, should appeal to those, like me, who liked the first half of his last movie, Su-ki-da, from seven years ago. More of the same, but even better. You have the feeling the movie may evaporate off the screen. And Sono Sion's 2012 recut of his 1995 Bad Movie was simply thrilling. It's something (a cast of thousands; scenes in which warring gangs commandeer, sans permits, morning commuter trains and major Tokyo intersections to stage massive fights) only a young man - he was 25 during production, I believe - would attempt without a major Hollywood budget.

---- Gerow Aaron <aaron.gerow at yale.edu> wrote: 
> Koreeda Hirokazu's Soshite chichi ni naru (Like Father, Like Son) was given the Jury Award at this year's Cannes Film Festival. It also picked up an honorable mention from the Ecumenical Jury.
> Aaron Gerow
> Professor
> Film Studies Program/East Asian Languages and Literatures
> Director of Graduate Studies, East Asian Studies
> Yale University
> 320 York Street, Room 311
> PO Box 208236
> New Haven, CT 06520-8236
> Phone: 1-203-432-7082
> Fax: 1-203-432-6729
> e-mail: aaron.gerow at yale.edu
> website: www.aarongerow.com

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