Saturday, June 25, 2011

NYAFF: Milocroze: A Love Story (2011)

The Opening Night film of the New York Asian Film Festival and a co presentation with the Japan Society's Japan Cuts series is a must see film. It is not the best film of the festival, but it is an example of the wild and way out anything goes style that only seems to work in Asia.

I'm going to try and give you an overview of the plot. Forget the character names, other than Milcroze, since they are so out there I couldn't keep up (and IMDB doesn't have them and any reviews on line I found were not in English).

The "plot" goes something like this:

A young boy falls in love with Milocroze when he meets her in a park. For a while they are happy until she leaves him for someone else.He is so broken hearted that he covers the hole in his heart with a pot lid.

Next we are introduced to a man who will help guys solve their romantic problems. He is hip happening and very abrasive. His car runs over a man in the street...

...which leads us into the central part of the film, a love story involving a samurai (kind of) guy who is trying to get back his lost love.

Eventually we get back to the story of Milocroze, but some thirty years on.

That does none of it justice, since justice is impossible other than handing you the film and saying "here watch this". This is a film that is impossible to tell you about, you have to see it. And when you see it you'll know why I can't adequately explain it.

Lets face it, it's a head trip film. It's a film that is not content with staying in one style or genre, it's going to be all things to all people.

The opening style is like an animated cartoon come to life. The second section is like a gangsta infomercial cum music video. The samurai section is like a scifi samurai movie drizzled with sappy romance and western.

It's all over the place and the film is both better and worse for it.

I'm not going to lie and say it's all good. It's not. Chunks of this film don't work. Some pieces go on way too long. Then again other pieces, particularly the samurai part are as good as anything as I've seen this year (and that's damn good). By the time the end of the samurai part was rolling around I was getting misty and I couldn't believe what I was seeing, one of the most romantically heart breaking sequences you're likely to see...

Basically the film works in fits and starts but when it's working, WOW. (Of course when it's not it's tough-some of the Milocroze stuff is just off)

Watching the long sword fight sequence I was struck that this was the hybrid film that Quentin Tarantino always seems to be aiming at, but never reaching. No, it's not as good as some of Tarantino's films (on the whole), but there is blending that strips away any notion that you are watching riffs on other films that never happens in Tarantino's films.

I loved this film, in pieces more than the whole. I think it's a stunning piece of filmmaking that is jagged and incomplete and messy and perfect. It's a film that is all over the place but still manages to work thanks to the strength of it's parts,like many Asian films- which is why it's the perfect film to open the NYAFF.

If you can you really should see this on a big screen with a theater full of people because it's that sort of fun movie.

This open in a few months in Japan.

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