Archive for October 3rd, 2010

the first in a series of films that wedre not seen quickly enough to make the 2000s poll but would have figured highly.

by Allan Fish

(Japan 2007 190m) DVD2 (Japan & France only, no English subs)

Aka. Jitsoruku rengo sekigun: Asama sanso e no michi

We hereby declare worldwide revolutionary war

p  Muneko Ozaki  d  Koji Wakamatsu  w  Masayuki Kakegawa, Koji Wakamatsu  ph  Yoshihisa Toda, Tomohiko Tsuji  ed  Koji Wakamatsu  m  Jim O’Rourke

Maki Sakai (Mieko Toyama), Arata (Hiroshi Sakaguchi), Akie Namiki (Hiroko Nagata), Go Jibiki (Tsuneo Mori), Shima Ohnishi (Kunio Bando), Anri Ban (Fusako Shigenobu), Hideo Nakaizumi (Yasuhiro Uegaki), Kaoru Okenuki (Yasuko Mata), Yugo Saso (Koichi Teraoka), Tak Sakaguchi (Shiomi Takaya),

It begins with a simple statement, “1972 – once armed youth cried out for revolution”; once Koji Wakamatsu had been a fearless underground filmmaker who reached his zenith in that same year, 1972, with Ecstasy of the Angels.  Since that date he’d attempted to reach a wider audience, without success.  Ecstasy detailed the struggles of a fictitious set of radical revolutionaries for whom sex was their raison d’être, while United Red Army contains not a single frame of nudity in its three hours plus.  Yet this is a personal film, arguably the most personal film ever made in the Japanese film industry. 

            Wakamatsu’s jitsoruku docu-drama charts the rise and fall of the militant student radical left, from its beginnings in uprisings in the late sixties – taking in events passing nods to events in Paris and the US – and up to the rise of such bodies as the RFL and RAF, of the arrest of leaders, of riots, or somewhat amateurish attempts at crime and, finally, to the retreat into the highest mountains to completely submerge themselves into what was no longer an ethos but a religion, a sort of divine masochism where members self-critique to achieve purity, but can result in their being beaten senseless or even killed.  (more…)

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(Lucio Fulci, 1981)

(essay by Kevin)

Lucio Fulci’s The Beyond is one of the best films of the Italian Horror genre. The film is definitely better than most horror movies, and it is doubly better than most Italian horror movies. The problem some people have with the film is that it makes no sense, and has no interest, at all, in following any kind of sensible or linear story path. Post gialli-Fulci was not interested in making stories that made sense, but, to his credit, The Beyond, for all of its craziness and inane moments, probably makes the most sense when held up to his other supernatural films. Fulci and the Italian’s love to stylize things — really ever since Fellini decided to abandon the neo-realist movement in Italy all bets were off — and Fulci’s garish imagery evokes some of the great moments from the giants of Italian cinema: Fellini and Bertolucci. The Italian’s had an eye for imagery (and Fulci had a thing for shooting eyes…) and for how something could just pop on the screen (or out of sockets); whether it be beautiful shadow play (like The Conformist) or an ethereal narrative a la Fellini, Fulci definitely knew how to create an eerie atmosphere on a par with the masters of Italian cinema (and especially his contemporary Argento), and The Beyond is his supernatural masterpiece. (more…)

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