Monday, July 11, 2011

NYAFF / Japan Cuts DB's Love and Loathing and Lulu and Anyano leaves a rnging in his ears

With today's film I've effectively seen at least part of every feature playing at the NYAFF other than Horny House of Horror. The part is the first half hour of Yellow Sea which I saw on import DVD sans English subtitles (I was told the American release company asked them not to be included because they have high hopes for the US release, I don't know how true it is.)

Today was a double feature of the first two films screening, Love and Loathing and Lulu and Anyano and Ringing in Their Ears. Because of scheduling I missed The Blade and the Star Asia Award for Tsui Hark during the showing of Detective Dee. Mondocurry and Mr C did see The Blade so expect a report or two down the line.

The day began by dashing into the theater with my friend Stan in tow just as the prize drawing was happening. Once inside we settled into our seats to see the days first film Ringing in Their Ears.

Ringing was the top of the list film for me for this year's festival, thanks to being blown away by director Yu Irie's 8000 Mile movies from last year. They were amazing and along with last years Live Tape,set the bar impossibly high for music films. I'm happy to say that Irie did not disappoint .

Nominally a film about the band Shinsei Kamattechan, the film only fleetingly has them front and center. Mostly the film focuses on a single mother and her 5 year old son; a high school girl who is shogi champ with romance trouble; and the band's manager who is trying not to have the band sell out. It's not until the end of the film when the band hits the stage for a long concert that they take a front and center stance, which in the hands of master filmmaker Yu Irie, is actually the background music for the other plot threads.

I liked the movie until the music kicked in and started to get misty from happiness. There is something infectious about the band that forces you to smile. I dare you not to feel bliss at the site of five year olds dancing around their dining room.(and I dare you not to be charmed by the chorus that makes the teachers crazy.)

Its a film that is very much fiction and very much real. There were more than a few exchanges that seemed ripped from life. The sequence where the mother asks her son who he loves more, her or her ex husband is eerily like listening in on a private conversation.

This is one of the top tier films of the festival and if it was playing again I would say run out and see it. But it's not so all we can hope for is that the film gets a US release.

The second film was Love and Loathing and Lulu and Ayano. The write up said the film was a pro-sex film about a young woman who finds her self in porn. It makes it seem like its a light look at the complications of being a porn actress (it's based on a book on porn day actors), unfortunately it's something else entirely.

The film tells the story of Junko, a 22 year old with an over bearing mother who finds some sort of fulfilment as an otaku porn princess. She also finds Anyano an other actress who ends up being a friend, a creepy stalker fan and varying degrees of trouble and happiness.

What I, Stan, Mondocurry and Mr C thought was going to be a light hearted look at the people who do porn, was instead a really good but rather dark look at making sex films in Japan. Far from erotic, and having only two short sequences with nudity, this is a film that is really about the people and their lives. It started out as funny and amusing, but it rather quickly turned into something else.

The easiest way to describe the film is to ask if you know the song Wig and a Box from Hedwig and the Angry Inch? Its a song about putting on a wig and becoming some one else. That's what happens with Junko. She puts on a wig and becomes Lulu. But there is always the darkness of going back to yourself and we see that as well. We also see the jealous, poor self images, slime balls and violence related to the industry.

No, it's not an anti-porn tirade. Its a warts and all look at the job of sex. It's a non-judgemental look at the industry which has a great deal of darkness in it.

It's also a troubling film. Having seen and reviewed several documentaries on the adult film industry this is the first film that actually made me step back and pause at what the industry is all about.

I really liked the film a great deal, but in all honesty I'm not sure what I think about it. Its a film that is still rattling around in my head.

It was not what I expected and it kicked the legs out from under me.

Definitely worth seeing if and when this hits these shores once more.

As I said after that Stan and I left to catch a train home.

For me there is another break from the NYAFF tomorrow as I head over to the Japan Society for a samurai double feature. (Actually no one from Unseen will be at any screening but I will be dropping in a NYAFF bonus tomorrow afternoon. It's something Mondocurry found and may interest some of you.

Wednesday it's the second of the shorts programs before I head back to the Japan Society...and Thursday should be Rail Truck on the big screen at the Japan Society and Yellow Sea at NYAFF (I say should be but I'm not sure because that think called life is saying otherwise.)

With three more days of the NYAFF and 11 days of Japan Cuts left keep reading because we at Unseen Films will keep reporting. (Remember there are reports from both Mondocurry and Mr C coming up so keep reading--- and if you are sick of Asian films we are still doing counter programing so there is no reason not to stop by.)

No comments:

Post a Comment