The film traces the growth and friendship of two very different high-school ping-pong players. "Peco" Hoshino is a brash, arrogant player, determined to turn pro. He taught his quiet, nerdy... See full summary »
A man wakes up to find himself locked in a tiny, cramped concrete room, in which he can barely move. He doesn't remember why he is there and where he came from. He has a terrible stomach ... See full summary »
A spell of time in the life of a family living in rural Tochigi prefecture, north of Tokyo. Though her husband is busy working at an office, Yoshiko is not an ordinary housewife, instead ... See full summary »
Nine convicts escape from prison; most are convicted murders. They commandeer a van from a strip club. Their plan is to find a stash of counterfeit money that a deranged cell mate told them... See full summary »
In dreamlike mountain scenery, Toshiko makes a daring escape from her sexually warped Uncle Sonezaki. Fortunately, she met Samehada as she runs for her life, which is also escaping from ... See full summary »
A successful doctor, Yukio's picture perfect life is gradually wrecked, and taken over by his avenging twin brother, who bumps off his family members one by one and reclaims his lover who is now Yukio's wife.
Three people in Tokyo take a surreal voyage of self-discovery through memory and nightmares. "O" intends suicide while talking on a cell-phone with a stranger he meets on line who plans a ... See full summary »
Of all the countries whose films I've seen (see my comment history) I've gotta say only the Japanese seem to be able to create art without seeming pretentious and stuffy. I think it comes from their great cultural tradition of humility, subtlety and, perhaps most importantly, a wacky sense of humour. Here we have a film that explores the most profound philosophical ideas an artist can ever encounter; yet it doesn't come across all dry, heavy and ponderous, the way a Kieslowski film would. And for the record, Kielsowski is one of my favourites.
Where is it written that all cerebral films have to be humourless dramas? And where is it written that all comedies must completely vapid and devoid of philosophy? KOI NO MON is the perfect example of how to get it all in one very entertaining package. Don't let the hilarious opening scene throw you off track; there's a lot more beneath the surface of this insanely goofy flick.
As I said earlier, this film jumps into the fundamental conundrum of all artists (including writers, musicians and chefs also): What do you do when no one understands your art? How do you present a truly revolutionary concept when everyone laughs at you? And in the resulting vacuum, how do you deal with your loneliness and isolation? Heavy stuff. Tarkovsky would have us crying in our beer. But leave it to the Japanese to present the idea every bit as profoundly but in a crazy romantic comedy.
Much like my other favourite underrated Japanese films (University of Laughs, Cutie Honey, Summer Time Machine Blues) this film can be enjoyed by philosophers as well as people just looking to be entertained. It's the ultimate answer to the question "How do you present a truly revolutionary concept when everyone laughs at you?" The answer is: laugh with them. Coat it in comedy, and they'll swallow anything and like it. I sure did.
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