Sunday, September 18, 2011

Japanese movies

We got netflix awhile ago and have used it to watch some Japanese movies. We can't rent Japanese movies because they don't come with English subtitles here. The first time we looked for a Japanese movie it took some time and some false starts before we settled on "Nobody Knows." The film is based on a true story from the 1990's when a mother abandoned her four children in an apartment. The oldest was 12 and the youngest was 4 years old. It was a beautifully made film. The children were amazing actors, the set design was heart breaking in its accuracy of how an apartment would change when four kids are left alone - you see the youngest girls crayons turn into little stubs as the months pass by. The mother never allowed the kids to go to school or registered their births so only the oldest was allowed to leave, the other three weren't allowed outside. When they finally decide to break that rule and the little ones get to play outside for the first time their sense of freedom and joy was exhilarating. Unfortunately, bad things do happen. The movie adaptation was less gruesome than the actual event, according to Wikipedia, but it still left me pretty depressed.

Craig decided to be pro-active for our next Japanese film choice and found a list of the top 10 must-see Japanese films. "Nobody Knows" was number 10. "Seven Samurai," "Akira," "Godzilla," were all on it. I was reading through the options and picked "Audition." The review began with something like - The first 40min of this film are like a Jennifer Anniston style romcom and then it takes a dark turn. So I figured it was a black comedy. I should have read the rest of the review instead of eagerly starting the film. The premise is a widower decides he wants to remarry but doesn't want to go through the hassle of dating to find the right woman. He's a tv producer and his pal/co-worker talks him into holding fake auditions for a movie they'll never make so he can pick out wife candidates. He immediately like the beautiful, obedient, docile, quiet girl. I say girl because he's in his 40's and she's maybe 22. He starts taking her to dinner and she gives him all the right answers and lets him feel like a real knight in shining armor. Then the movie takes its dark turn and I should have read the rest of the review. Apparently Rob Zombie had problems watching the last 5min and you shouldn't plan on eating anything after watching the movie. While I can appreciate turning the tables on the torture porn genre and having the 40 year old man be the victim of a young, seemingly obedient, docile woman, I really, really, really didn't want to watch her gleefully cut off his foot - while he was conscious - using a piano wire. I finished the film with my hands in front of my eyes while Craig told me what was happening. It ends well - his son comes home and manages to push her down some stairs. She was abused a lot as a child and now only values pain - for the actress they are the only scenes where she shows any emotion, mostly pleasure - as a way to really know someone. Why in the world would a film like that make it on to anyone's top 10 list! I know I'm supposed to be all educated in film and appreciate less pedestrian fare but the next movie I watch is starring Renee Zellweger and it is going to make me laugh.

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