Jûzô Murasaki is a boy miscast in his classroom, being frequently abused, tortured, beaten and humiliated by the bully Tôru Akai and his gang of juvenile punks. After years of repression, ... See full summary »
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 »
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 »
Set during Japan's Shogun era, this film looks at life in a samurai compound where young warriors are trained in swordfighting. A number of interpersonal conflicts are brewing in the ... See full summary »
(Japanese with English subtitles) Down-on-his-luck photographer Makoto (Ryuhei Matsuda) receives a letter from his old girlfriend, who, according to a friend, died a year ago in NYC. Eager ... See full summary »
Majime, an eccentric man in publishing company, who has unique ability of words, joins the team that will compile a new dictionary, 'The Great Passage.' In the eclectic team, he becomes ... 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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