CINEMA [Feb 18th]
Confessions (Tetsuya Nakashima, 2010) [Main Picture]
Mike Says: The director of Kamikaze Girls (2004) and Memories Of Matsuko (2006) returns with a dark thriller that has recieved critical plaudits from its festival showings in Toronto and Dubai. It looks kind of like Heathers (1988) meets Mother (2009), and like Nakashima’s previous work it should be a genre-mash up of extraordinary power. The trailer reveals a musical sequence, teenage melodrama, dark comedy and blood-thirsty revenge, with a room of severed bodies being followed by a girl typing heart symbols onto her phone. The trailer ends with dramatic opera music and an explosion. I have no idea what the film will be like, but I know it’s going to be one hell of a ride.
Inside Job (Charles Ferguson, 2010)
Inside Job is a very strange beast. It is a very well researched, very scary documentary about how we got to where we are in terms of the financial crisis and what lies ahead of us and, in terms of that, it is a worthy winner of the Oscar it’s nominated for and worth your viewing. At the same time, though, it kind of feels too polished. It’s a weird thing to say, but changing the title to ‘Hollywood vs. Wall Street’ feels kind of apt with the almost Hollywood style flashy camera angles and Matt Damon being narrator, who to his credit does a good job outside of the forced optimistic ending which no one will pay attention to (for good reasons), which doesn’t take away from the whole thing as make it less feel like an underground movement but more of a crusade. Again, it’s a very good documentary and my arguments may seem crazy, but that one thing kind of stops it from feeling like something genuinely world changing.
DVD [Feb 21st]
The Burmese Harp (Kon Ichikawa, 1956)
Another audience demanded DVD release from EUREKA!, The Burmese Harp tells the story of a conscience-driven, perhaps naïve solider who, in the wake of WWII travels the land as a Buddhist monk, putting to rest those deceased soldiers who fell without a grave. It was nominated for a Best Foreign Film Oscar but has since been forgotten, largely because of its unavailability, but it should now regain its reputation as a classic of Japanese cinema, and the cinema in general. Deeply compassionate and beautifully shot, it may be a little slow for some, but the anti-war message is an important one and the drama is realised with care.
Faccia A Faccia (Sergio Sollima, 1967)
Cult filmmaker Sergio Sollima’s Spaghetti Western finally gets a decent release, but whether it deserves one is still up for debate. I haven’t seen the film but the story sounds fascinating, with a history professor facing up against a bandit. It twists the genre on its head a bit by finding a naturally good man facing up against an evil one, as opposed to the gunslingers of Leone’s Westerns who come of unspecified origin with no particular moral code other than ‘kill or be killed.’ The score is by Ennio Morricone (of course), so it could be worth a look, but reviews are mixed.
Profound Desires Of The Gods (Shôhei Imamura, 1968)
I’ve been waiting to see this Japanese drama for years and after extreme popular demand EUREKA! have decided to release the film on DVD after their successful Blu Ray release late last year. 173 minutes in length, it tells the story of a Tokyo engineer traveling to a tropical island where he plans to drill a well for the sugar mill – but he falls in with the interbred Futori family and the film chronicles their long relationship. It apparently has a darkly farcical tone blending realism with surrealism, and the trailer has some hugely evocative images. It’s also, apparently, an essay on Japanese society – but I just can’t wait to experience this epic work.