Saturday, July 9, 2011

Mondocurry NYAFF report vol. 8: Battle Royale VS. The Story of Ricky: Riki O

This was a truly inspired double feature of films. I will probably expand on them further down the road. For now, I'll just put a few quick thoughts out there. Battle Royale was packed to capacity with eager moviegoers. I''d never seen such a line at a Japan Society screening before. It extended back towards the classrooms on the lower level of the building and then back around up the stairs into the lobby again! During the introduction, it became evident that about half of the audience had seen the before and for the other half this would be the first time. Either its somewhat timeworn nature, New York City cynicism, or the energy of seeing something with a large group of people made for a lot more laughs than I'd expected. It was not the derisive kind. Often, it was out of appreciation for "Beat" Takeshi Kitano's madcap performance as the class' teacher/oppressor, one that ranks among the most delirious portrayals of a psychotic villain in film history. The movie fiery performances by women, or in this case high school girls, are also awe inspiring.

The trip across town was easy by car in the late traffic-less hours of the night. I didn't notice anyone else who had gone from one screening to the next and still wonder if others tried to do both films.

THE STORY OF RICKY: RIKI OH! is sheer lunacy from beginning to need. It is a film whose logic must only apply after the clock strikes 12:01 am. The dubbed dialogue is hilariously filled with cliches and awkwardly intoned utterances. Every fight scene MUST involve some sort of epic physical disfigurement. Heads explode, fists pierce through bodies, or people are reduced to ground meat. This marks another wonderful exploitation film, the sort that cannot or just does not get made anymore. A must for the big screen. While the audience was relatively small, they roared with laughter the entire time.

I hope the NYAFF unearths even more wild movies like this next year and puts together more inspired double features. Seeing these movies again on a large screen is completely worth it.

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