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Sugihara, born in Japan but with North Korean parents, falls in love with a Japanese girl after changing from a North Korean school to a Japanese school. His boxer dad teaches him boxing - skills used a lot.
Touchy subject. Bizarre presentation. Only Hideaki Anno can pull it off.
This film is about pedophilia, perversion and prostitution through the eyes of 15-17 year old high school girls. It was filmed entirely using mini digital cameras mounted in bizarre places (like in a bowl of soup, on a pair of chopsticks and up a girl's skirt).
OK, if that didn't scare you off, then please continue reading.
It's a heavy, disturbing subject right off the bat. That plus the unconventional camera-work rings of "pretentious art house film". But somehow Hideaki Anno pulls it off. I suspect that it's because this is a sort of *tongue-in-cheek* pretentious art house film. Unlike certain snotty Cannes Film Festival contenders who seem to take themselves too seriously, Anno deliberately goes way over the top, as if to say, "Yes, I am a very strange man who likes to put cameras in microwave ovens." As a result, the mood of this film is a cross between CLOCKWORK ORANGE and AIRPLANE 2. Take it or leave it.
You might be wondering why I rated it only 6/10 despite the fact that I seem to be praising it. You see, I've rated it on my special Hideaki-Annometer which grades on a much tougher scale. True, it's a worthwhile film. But relative to some of his other work, this comes across as a bit experimental and fractured.
His later work SHIKI-JITSU is the perfection of what we see here. You'll even notice many recurring trademarks such as train tracks, red lighting and "countdown" intertitles. In the two years following LOVE & POP, Hideaki Anno mastered the style he dabbled in here.
But oh wait I forgot about the music. (I may have to bump my rating up to a 7.) As with SHIKI-JITSU, he matches the perfect doleful piano pieces with poetic voice-over narration. In particular, I recognized a few Chopin sonatas, Debussy's "Claire de lune" and 1 or 2 other haunting melodies. Despite the vulgarity of the subject matter, these classical/romantic pieces provide a very interesting counterbalance. And I believe that is the whole theme of the film: the precarious balance between perversion and innocence.
It's certainly a memorable film. But it requires some patience. Be sure to stick around for the 2nd half when things get REALLY weird.
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