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Archive for January 30th, 2012

by Stephen Russell-Gebbett

(Japan 1997, 61min – aka It’s Keiko; Keiko Desu Kedo) not available on DVD

Director, Writer Sion Sono Starring Keiko Suzuki

Keiko Suzuki is a 21 year-old girl. Her father passed away a year ago and the film (part diary, part document, all fiction) depicts her life and her grief, which lasts.

We see a clock and she counts the seconds. 1, 2, 3, she walks down the street for minutes on end counting each step as she goes (as you can imagine this can dip into boredom a couple of times, but not only briefly). The passing of time fascinates her; her loss has made her aware of what comes and goes. Each second a struggle without him, each second forward to, perhaps, peace. She is comforted and daunted by the fact that life goes on regardless; what moves seems to be standing still, what stands still seems to slip away. Time is even more of a fetish here than in Wong Kar Wai’s stories.

We will see her smile a little, and watch her continue to return, almost imperceptibly, back to herself.

At the very beginning, she tells us that the film will last precisely 1 hour, 1 minute and 1 second, after which we can leave (“This film will be over at exactly 8:23”). She doesn’t want to intrude but she appears to need us as an audience (she lives alone) and, frankly, when that 1 hour, 1 minute and 1 second is over, it has been a privilege. How often do we feel as an audience that we are of use? Therefore I expected the film to end exactly as it did, with one simple word in Japanese, two in English.

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Declaration of War

Sylistically audacious French drama "Declaration of War" emotionally potent

by Sam Juliano

While at least one person with a long Wonders in the Dark association will be rooting his head off for the New England Patriots in next week’s Super Bowl contest, it does appear that most with a feigning interest are hoping short order vindication isn’t achieved.  Joel Bocko believes a Pats victory will erase the bitter taste of the 08 upset that spoiled a perfect season and sent New England fans into a prolonged depression.  He also sees a side of stone-faced head coach Bill Belichick, that Pats haters hate to acknowledge, one that reveals a master at his craft and the genius behind the NFL’s most dangerous offense.  Tom Coughlin’s Giants, however, are the stronger defensive unit, and the Big D is often what wins Super Bowls.  The oddsmakers by 3 points believe the Pats will be getting their revenge in Indianapolis on February 6th.

The Bresson Film Festival at Manhattan’s Film Forum has concluded, but the same venue has presently reached it’s meatiest stage at the Siskel Center in Chicago, where several WitD staff and associates are presently immersing themselves.  Back at the Film Forum after a one-week run of a minor camp classic Pretty Poison, the theatre will be running a comprehensive three-week festival on William Wellmann, that will include appearances by author William Wellmann Jr., some piano accompaniments by Steve Sterner, and a few rarities. (more…)

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