I spent some time this week at the Japanese film festival. I almost missed it, but was wandering past the George St Cinemas and noticed a couple of enthusiastic people with placards and leaflets advertising something interesting for a change.
Let’s see – Tuesday was the Australia/Japan student film night. Lots of little interesting pieces. My favourite, Awake, about an elevator ride to the Underworld was quite touching, but all of them were quite good. I didn’t ‘get’ the last short film, The School Clinic. It was about a group of Japanese students suffering from ennui and pretending to be sick all the time and hanging around the school clinic to retreat from life. I think it was about how one of them finally left the clinic to engage with life, but it was told in this very slow, measured pace, so you could almost feel the sense of isolation and measured, excruciating boredom that the kids were going through. Or it could have been a commentary on the foreign exchange budget. Who can say?
J-Horror night on Tuesday. The first, Mansion of the Ghost Cat, was a 1950’s horror film with lots of LOUD MUSIC and wobbly special effects. It was great fun, but more of an unintentional comedy. The next film the Suicide Song, was a bit more inline with modern J-Horror, including girlie band starting as actors. It descended into schmaltz melodrama in the last few scenes, but after the bleakness of watching people commit suicide (or get ready to) throughout the film, I didn’t mind that. I did notice a bit of a ‘Y’ undertone to it. (Or maybe it’s just Wystii‘s bad influence on me. :))
Friday night was Love and Honour, an excellent samurai drama about a samurai who goes blind during his duties as a poison taster for his lord, and the impact upon his life and family. I really enjoyed the romance side of this film. Sniff.