Saturday, February 24, 2007
Aka Muscle, aka Lunatic Theatre
Original Title: Kurutta Butokai
Directed by: Hisayasu Sato, Japan, 1989
Young and good looking art director Ryuzaki [Takeshi Ito] who works for a magazine called Muscle, a pale excuse to be around well built body builders, starts an affair with Kitami [Simon Kumai] but their sexual games rapidly get dangerous as Kitami’s sadistic tendencies start to torture Ryuzaki more than he’s ready for. In a desperate attempt to escape Kitami’s sadistic games, Ryuzaki cuts off Kitami’s arm during a photo shoot. Several years later Ryuzaki is released from prison for his crime but he can’t get Kitami out of his mind and soon starts searching the back streets and underbelly of society for the man he longs to be reunited with, Kitami
I remember seeing this movie way back in the early nineties, and it definitely made an impression as I was starting to explore the wilder sides of Asian cinema. Now almost twenty years later Sato’s Kuruta Butokai still is a mind expanding piece of Japanese Pinkku cinema. Usually Pinkku is soft core male-female sexual exploits, but what makes Kurutta disturbing is the strong solid gay theme, although nothing is too explicit or hard core, I’m sure that most people would find the underpants licking and the semi nude blokes fondling each others bodies to be quite uncomfortable. Not to forget the violence, even if it is quite timid and far a part. But be assured, if you see this movie you will never forget it; the male nudity, Ryuzaki running around with Kitami’s arm in formaldehyde, the Lunatic Cinema (Where you pay after viewing the movie, if you like it pay, if not don’t), the frequent Pasolini references; the cinema showing Pigsty or Ryuzaki’s desperate quest to view Pasolini’s final movie Salo, and even the use of Coil’s awesome Ostia (The Death of Pasolini) on the soundtrack. It’s a great movie, even if it is Pinkku master Sato’s less explicitmovies, but and if you like your movies weird, provocative and unpredictable then Kuratta Butokai is definitely for you.
16x9, English subtitles burned into print.
Japanese 2.0 Stereo
Nothing on this VHS to DVD-R conversion.
Saturday, February 17, 2007
He Loves Me… He Loves Me Not
Original Title: À la folie… pas du tout
Directed by: Laetitia Colombani, France, 2002
Thriller / Drama 92min
Distributed by: Scanbox Entertainment
Young, pretty Angelique [Audrey Tautou] finds herself being taunted by her lover Loïc [Samuel Le Bihan]. But when he starts ignoring her Angelique's world starts falling apart, or is it his world?
An odd little movie that after a quite dull first third takes a sudden unexpected twist, pulls you in and becomes really very interresting. The first third of the movie tells Angelique’s tale of torment as she pines for the final proof that Loïc loves her, who ironically is a heart specialist too. Angelique impatiently waits for Loïc to leave his pregnant wife and go to Florence for a romantic weekend with her… But her wait is long, and painful. The unique twist to this movie is that nothing is what it seems to be, and it’s done in a very creative way after the first third is completed. Obviously there isn’t an affair between Angelique and Loïc, it’s all in her head, which is what we learn as the second third unfolds and we see how Loïc in fact the one being tormented by Angelique and her severe case of erotomania. À la folie… is surprising, in many ways both because it gets off to such a slow start, ad then that it takes such a completely different road after the first third. The final part is all about the two lives of Angelique and Loïc as they patch their now shattered lives together again. There is a twist ending too, not a surprise but a small twist that you should see coming, but the way that Colombani pulls it off is brilliant. A very good debut feature that definitely can be highly recommended and for certain viewed again.
1.85:1 Anamorphic Widescreen. Wonderful colours and watch the colour scheme alter as we go through the movie! Nice details there.
French Audio, 5.1 Dolby Digital and 2.0 Dolby Digital. Swedish, Danish, Norwegian and Finnish Subtitles are optional.
Quite a few for this little oddity, a few deleted scenes, three alternative endings, which you quickly understand why they didn’t use them, Cast Biographies, Production notes and a commentary track by the director Laetitia Colombani. Finally the theatrical trailer and a few promos for other titles on Scanbox.
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