Lesson learnt: read up on a film before watching it.
As I write, no one on IMDb has provided a synopsis for Ecstasy of the Angels, and the few reviews here are rather bereft of plot details; could that be because no-one who has watched it has got a clue what was going on thanks to the stupefyingly dull direction, the coma-inducing performances, and the fact that it is virtually impossible to tell one character from another? I reckon so.
Before I gave up trying to follow the story and began praying for the film to just finish and thereby end my misery (I'm obsessive about watching a film in its entirety, no matter how bad), here's what I garnered about the plot: The Four Seasons revolutionary group is split into factions that go by the names of surprise surprisethe Four Seasons. Fall organises a raid on a US army base and makes off with some high explosives (stored in what looks like Bilbo Baggins' hobbit hole), but with members of her team killed and injured during the job, the way is left wide open for the other factions to help themselves to the spoils of her venture. Cue much arguing amongst angry freedom fighter types, and lots of strangely unemotional sex scenes between the uniformly hot female members of the group and the seemingly unappreciative blokes.
If I had known what I was in for, I would have passed on this film, but for some reason I had got it into my mind that this was a sleazy Cat III effort from Hong Kong; not only did I get the country of origin wrongthis is a Japanese flickbut I also was also severely misguided when it came to the kind of film this was. Rather than a trashy piece of Asian filth, Ecstasy of the Angels is a pompous, pretentious, and extremely dull avant-garde art-house film that could only possibly appeal to the bearded chin-stroker contingent; whilst they might enjoy waxing lyrical about the intent of the piece, the film's political message or the pointless techniques employed by the director (B&W to colour to B&W to colour, ad nauseum), anyone else will simply be bored rigid. Hell, I was practically catatonic by the end of the film's opening scene in which several of the characters sit around a table in a night-club while a singer drones on endlessly in the background.
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