Wednesday, April 14, 2010

A Fish Story (2009)

I like this movie. Its a great deal of fun.

This is a sweet charming shaggy dog story about how a song saves the world from destruction. How this happens is almost impossible to describe because its a long chain of seemingly unconnected events. You have to take trust me when I say its a time tripping film that shows how that happens, something that isn't clear until the very end.

It begins in the last five hours before a giant comet is set to hit earth and wipe everyone out. We are in a record shop (still open because "its business hours") where a discussion of punk music leads to the album and song called A Fish Story. The film then spins out, telling the story of the song, the group that created it and the sequence of events, of which the song is but one part, that lead to the saving of the earth and to the men standing in the record store.

A frequently funny and smiling producing film, this is a movie that will occasionally confuse you. At no point is it clear how it all ties together until the very end. It’s a film with enough plot for five or six movies as threads are spun out and dropped once we see the relevant bits. We could have probably followed any one of them to the conclusion as well but many are just stops in the greater scheme of things. I would try to explain more but I really can't because the bits will make no sense unless you take them in the order the film presents them.

I liked this whimsical little film a great deal.

My only real reservations comes from my unhappiness with the over selling that the film got from the staff of the New York Asian Film Festival. When I saw the film the staff had been trumpeting the film on its website and at the other screenings as "the film to beat in the audience polling". Don’t get me wrong it’s a good movie, but its not quite the religious experience that at least one person inferred (by the way the film didn't win the audience award).

Over selling or not I don’t think I would have ever raved about the film. It’s a bit too rambling and too fragmented to ever be a full meal of a movie (I want to see where some of the discarded threads end up), it’s really good after dinner piece of chocolate. This isn’t to say that there is anything wrong with it, there isn’t, its more something that you need to discover for yourself and not have handed to you with an impossible level of expectations.

See the film if you get a chance, just don't worry about how it is, just know its worth your time.

I know that this film is available in Japan and Korea on DVD, I'm not sure if its available anywhere else. I'm actually kind of shocked this hasn't shown up elsewhere since this film has a very strong cult following. I've read several rave reviews from a couple of film festivals so I'm at a loss as to why this film seems still lost in the US and elsewhere.

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