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Recently in surreal / fantasy Category

Yumeji

Genre: Taisho Era Artistic Spiral Into Madness

review in one breath

Artist Yumeji has gained fame and recognition for his skills at painting as well as notoriety for his untamed lifestyle. Despite his betrothal to a beautiful and timid young woman of high birth, his libido turns to his many female models. Despite this freedom from constraint, his lust and artistic sentiment cause him nothing but an increasing awareness of the elusive embodiment of true Beauty. While traveling he encounters a mesmerizing widow who relentlessly searches for her husband's body in the nearby lake, believing him killed at the hands of a ferocious roaming bandit. Infatuated with her beauty, he feigns to help her look for the corpse, only to unlock the mystery himself thereby sending him to further depths of debauchery and despair. This is the third and final film in director Suzuki Seijun's critically acclaimed Taisho Trilogy.



The Neighbor No. Thirteen
[Rinjin Juusan Gou]

Genre: Jekyll and Hyde meets Friday the 13th

review in one breath

After years of being bullied, Murazaki Juzo's harbored anger now manifests itself as a self-conscious personality deep within him. As if driven by forces he cannot control, he finds himself precariously close decades later to his worst bully. As Juzo watches on in increasing horror, his alter ego gradually comes violently to the fore in what increasingly appears to be a highly orchestrated vengeance. This is a riveting psycho-revenge film with a superb soundtrack and plenty of eye candy.



Three... Extremes: Box

Genre: Surreal Nightmare

review in one breath

Three... Extremes is a trilogy of relatively short films each by a different asian director. Box, the 40 minute film under review here is directed by Japanese director Miike Takashi. Dumpling is a 37 minute film by Hong Kong director Fruit Chan. And Cut is a 48 minute film by Korean director Park Chan-wook. (PS: Although all three of these very cool films are contained in the single DVD I hold in my nimble fingers, I will only review Miike's film since (a) this is a Japanese movie review site, and (b) my utter lack of experience with Hong Kong or Korean films will undoubtedly result in my review simply saying these films are "very cool".)



Stereo Future

Genre: Utopian Love Story

review in one breath

First off, this is a love story. And if you're familiar with the type of films I prefer to review, you'll have noticed that the only love stories dealt with here involve unfortunate demises, tragic karmic fates, or general spousal "conflict" leading to the psychotic haunting of one by the other. Thus my reviewing Stereo Future here might suggest to some of you the possible presence of formidable malice or weapons of mass destruction. But, I would like you all to know, I have a much softer side which is able to enjoy cuddling on the sofa basking in the warm glow of a romance..... heh.



Hakuchi
[The Innocent]

Genre: Surreal Apocalypticism

review in one breath

I really enjoyed this movie. It is imaginative and visionary while grounded in in a few ancient intuitions. Hakuchi blends and evokes images reminiscent of the realpolitik of Salome, the apocalyptic state of Blade Runner and the societal perversity of Clockwork Orange. Its underlying framework, however, is grounded in Japanese (Shinto and Buddhist) notions of renewal, redemption and the end times.



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