The day before Japan announces its defeat in WW2, a very ill Shusaku arrives in Okayama. He meets Shinko, an innkeeper, who inadvertently gives him the will to live as he spies her crying ... See full summary »
In the 1920s, the anarchist revolutionary Sakae Osugi is financially supported by his wife, journalist Itsuko Masaoka. He spends his time doing nothing but philosophizing about political ... See full summary »
Deals with the intolerably hard life of a family of four, the only inhabitants of a very small Japanese island in the Setonaikai archipelago. Several times a day they row over to the ... See full summary »
Set around a remote Buddhist monastery, it features Masao, a young son of a rich merchant who doesn't want to follow his father into business or go to college, preferring to study under a ... See full summary »
A man penetrates by night in a nurse dormitory planning to kill them all. While he accomplishes to his self imposed task thoughts and obsessions come to his mind revealing his love deficits... See full synopsis »
Fortunately this film isn't just another repetition of the Japanese highschool drama genre - even though all characters are students and a reference to bullying is not missing. Instead, we ... See full summary »
The Tokyo engineer Kariya arrives on a primitive tropical island to drill a well to provide water for the sugar mill. He is assisted on the island by Kametaro, from the inbred Futori family... See full summary »
If you peel a cabbage you get the core; but if you peel an onion?
This is something to seriously contemplate; a mantra to meditate on.
The question itself suggests the meaning, but the answer eventually given to the riddle challenges the preconceived answer. Can we say we get nothing from the peeling of the onion? We still have an onion (peeled away) and the peeling has happened, there is change, movement, progression. I'm not writing this to be clever, it's how I feel the film functions as New Wave. If we peel it to arrive at a core we may be frustrated, but if we come for the peeling instead? For the process of transformation itself?
So, if you peel a human what do you get? In a marvelous hypnosis scene, a young man is called by the doctor to visualize a screen and see what goes there. Do we project upon the screen or does the screen upon us?
The first love here is awkward, erratic, youthful, perhaps not love at all. The inferno is society and the self, or the self trying to cope with society. I like how the portrait of youth is angsty but loving, how the folly of youth is embraced. In Yoshishige Yoshida's Eros + Massacre from the following year, the two young students living in a modern Japan are aimless, disaffected, they act as though they know. Here the young couple fumbles in the dark, only now getting to know that the world is a dark place.
And if we peel cinema, what do we get then? If we begin to disassimilate the narrative in the effort to see what exists inside and examine the parts, do they make a whole or do we make it by our presence as viewers; this is why Inferno is valuable to me, because I'm always on the lookout for films the peel away the language of cinema, tweak and contort image to see will it break down at some point to reveal truth.
Oh, we may get nothing at all eventually, or have a helluva hard time convincing others that nothingness itself is the most valuable, but we are still not at the point where we started. Meaning a journey has taken place that dislocated us, our sense, our sense of image.
In this sense this is a true New Wave film. As with Godard the breach with traditional narrative is desirable here, unlike Godard though Nanami is not reactionary, it's angsty or unorthodox because it has a reason. Nanami's society hasn't solved its problems yet like the French New Wave's has, or perhaps in having solved some of them, a yawning chasm that goes back in time is revealed.
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