Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Some film thoughts

You know how 2046 was a kind of mediocre mashup of every theme Wong Kar Wai had played with in his entire film career? A sort of self referential exercise in narcissism?

I just got done watching Kiyoshi Kurosawa's Retribution, which I, uh, found, on the internet. And although it's less self indulgent, simply because I don't think Kurosawa is as successful as Wong Kar Wai, so he gets less money, it's a similar sort of concept. Essentially it's a rehash of some of his old themes: the power of dreams, delivered no less by Jo Odagiri who starred in Bright Future, a meme of violence coming from some undisclosed source of discontent lodged in the past like in Cure, ghosts as figures of human loneliness, like in Pulse, an angry detective with tendencies towards police brutality played by Koji Yakusho, practically every movie Kurosawa has ever made. Interestingly, I felt that his dislike of women came out more strongly in this film. Women have always been disruptive or malevolent forces in his films before, but there's never been so much violence against women as there is in this film. It's pretty clear from this review that I have seen a lot of Kurosawa movies and I also didn't really like this one. I really wanted to, even when the film is less than successful, his films are generally pretty interesting and I'm glad I said this one.

That said, the ghosts were really silly. I'm a wimp and I wasn't even scared by them. Kurosawa can scare the shit out of you when he really wants too. A woman dressed in red being wheeled around on a dolly doesn't scare me at all.

I like seeing Kurosawa movies, because strangely when I'm feeling depressed, they make me less so. I'm not sure why watching Japanese horror movies that are really about the human condition make me less depressed. But I'll take what I can get.


1minutefilmreview said...

Well said, and nice essay.

Anonymous said...

silly question, but is inspiring fear/scaring the audience really the goal of a horror movie? genre question.

lovelesscynic said...

Dear Anonymous Person,
In a word, yes, I do. Since the movie in question featured a lot of those teasing tracking shots or then having the ghost appear on the edge of the frame, or those ones where the ghost ends up right behind the main character. The way the movie is shot makes me feel that it is attempting to scare the audience.

Anonymous said...

I dont like watching horror movies myself, because I'm scared of dead people, but I think that for most people the psychological/physical arousal is a big part of going to see a horror film.

Is it a good conduit for philosophical questions about the human condition? I dunno...Clara? I guess frightened people are more likely to pay attention, anyway.