Wednesday, July 22, 2020

Brief thoughts on Shell and Joint (2019) Japan Cuts

Isamu Hirabayashi’s first feature film is not so much a straight narrative so much as a bunch of  loosely connect vignettes or conversations, the film criss crosses back and forth between several different characters, hotel clerks, people in a sauna, animated insect puppets, stuffed animals and elsewhere. Talk bounces between the mundane to to truly bizarre and almost all of the action is of a verbal sort.

I'm not going to guess how you are going to react to this film. While the conversations can be intriguing, are sometimes funny or uncomfortable, the mix can be a bit jarring as the film shifts focus just as a piece seems to be going somewhere.

My reaction is decidely mixed. While I liked bits of this film a great deal other pieces kind of fell flat. It doesn't help that the film runs just over two and a half hours. There was a point somewhere about a quarter of the way in when I began to wonder how much more there was left...two hours I groaned.

WHile not my cup of tea it is a very well done one of a kind film that might be yours.

For information on how to see this film or any of the other Japan Cuts films go here.

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