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November 2008 Archives

Tattooed Life

Irezumi ichidai

Genre: Old-School Yakuza Reverence

review in one breath

A convicted Yakuza felon is forced to decide between his own safety and the protection of his good-natured, devoted younger brother. Choosing the latter, both brothers flee to a remote mining town in the hopes of finding work and solace from the police. Their career choice brings them into contact with the motley and volatile crew of mine workers, each seemingly with a similarly notorious background. In spite of the elder brother's relentless efforts to keep them both out of harm's way, once the younger brother becomes fixated on the exemplar beauty of boss's wife, all hell breaks loose. This early film by renowned director Suzuki Seijun brings classic depictions of Yakuza nobility and Japanese humanism to the fore. Definitely worth checking out!



TOKYO!

TOKYO!

Genre: Tokyo-scape Triptych of Self-Realization

review in one breath

TOKYO! is an anthology of three short films by directors Michel Gondry (France), Leos Carax (France) and Joon-ho Bong (Korea), each of whom offers an imaginative and transnatural/supernatural glimpse into the Tokyo Megapolis. In the same fashion the internationally released collections of Three (2002) and Three Extreme (2004) consist of similarly-themed triptychs by well-known (Asian) directors, TOKYO! takes things two steps further. First, this anthology deals solely with Japan. Each short film's setting is in Tokyo, the primary language is Japanese, and the cast of each features predominantly Japanese actors, many of whom J-Film fans will recognize. Second, two of the three directors are Western (French). TOKYO! is currently being screened in the 2008 International Film Festival, but I assume it will soon be more widely released.



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