Saturday, June 26, 2010

Postman Blues (1997)

Sabu, aka Hiroyuki Tanaka, is a Japanese actor who has taken a turn or two in the directors chair. He is a director who is wildly, wildly under appreciated. I mean most people, even Asian film lovers have no idea who he is (as a director) even if they have heard of his films.

Having seen several of his films I can't truly say I'm surprised, since Sabu's films tend to be an odd mix of humor darkness and humanism. He is a man who makes films that are forever heading for somewhere else. They seem to be going to "left field" even if we know the story. Its a wonderful thing because
his quirkiness always manages to surprise us.

A bored postman runs into an old school chum when making his rounds only to discover that he's now a member of the Yakuza (and being watched by the police who take an interest in the postman as a result). Spurred on by his friends tales about living a life where your heart beats fast our hero goes home and opens some of the undelivered mail. He becomes infatuated with a young girl who is dying in a hospital and he goes to meet her, making the acquaintance not only of the girl but a hit-man in the process…

This is a good off kilter comedy that was my first introduction to the films of actor/director Sabu. I've seen him in some of the films that he's acted in but this was the first time I had seen a film he directed. I wasn't sure if the film was a comedy or not so there were times that I wasn't sure if I was supposed to be laughing, especially with some of the darker bits. But Sabu does that. He makes films that put you off balance, but in a good way. Certainly this would not have been made in the West where some of the shifts in tone from comedy to something darker are either frowned upon or not handled well.

I really like this film a great deal. For whatever reason I'm keeping the VCD of the film on a shelf in my bed room and I won't put it away. Its not that I watch it often I just like knowing that its there.

Is it a great film, no, the film is a bit too rambling in some sections, but it is very good. This isn't to say the rambling is bad, some of the rambling sections, where our hero listens to some of his "friends" tales, are some of the more enjoyable sections, the trouble is that as much as you like them you still wonder where it's all going.

Certainly it's worth a look for anyone who is tired of the typical comedies, even of the edgier independent sort.

I think this film is only out as an import in the US. This is the case with most of Sabu's films which make it damn near impossible for anyone to get acquainted with this wonderfully unique director.

1 comment:

  1. So far, my favorite SABU movie. That ending is something else.