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Thanks to the good people who finally made subtitles available for it, I was able to finally enjoy this rare film by Takashi Ishii. I only mention this to applaud and encourage the effort, because so many more treasures remain to be subbed.
Imagine a journey into the electric, lonely night of Wong Kar Wai, where neon colors bleed into the wet macadam and sweet melancholy silences beckon at us from the roads less traveled. The woman's name in kanji is "missing persons", and the man is a professional substitute, doing for people what they won't do themselves. They're both vicariously alive and we can paint in our minds for these people past lives carried out in drudgery, their ache for human connection. Between them stands a dead body.
This is the part of the movie I find the most alluring, for the same reason I am drawn to Wong Kar Wai. It reminds me of familiar solitudes, in my places. This is probably what the other review refers to as neo-noir, though it's not. It's a moody jazz ballad about a rainy night, like Rainy Dog.
Some of the images here seduce, like the one of two people in dark silhouette against the majestic cyan of an acquarium where a sea otter tumbles a pirouette.
Now imagine this violently intruded upon by an early manifestation of someone like Shunya Tsukamoto, with his morphing imagery and bloody angst, imagine encounters with crazed sleazeballs in dingy bars and sadistic beatdowns in back-alleys. This is the part of the movie I'm not very enamored of, mostly because the other part speaks to me while this doesn't. Ishii is adept at both though, like a few years later in Gonin.
The most bitter note here however is how, having shown these two people to be yearning for a moment's warmth and willing to let parts of themselves be torn from them to attain it, Ishii leaves them to a loveless fate. This is perhaps his own tortured ode to the ineffability of human connection.
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