Reiko, a prize-winning writer, moves to a quiet isolated house to finish up her new novel. One night she sees the man next door transporting an object wrapped in cloth. She finds out he is ...
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Akiko travels to Vladivostok Russia to meet Matsunaga who she first met in Tokyo and is unable to forget. Even though Akiko meets Matsunaga again, Matsunaga does not remember her. Matsunaga... See full summary »
Reiko, a prize-winning writer, moves to a quiet isolated house to finish up her new novel. One night she sees the man next door transporting an object wrapped in cloth. She finds out he is an archaeologist researching an ancient mummy that was recently found.
I finally got around to watching Loft, after a year of owning the DVD If you find a copy, play it loud because the sound really makes the movie. The director is Kiyoshi Kurosawa and I'm a huge fan of his work. His films are just so often unable to be defined in one genre, or ANY genre for that matter. The first 2 thirds of the film are filled with so many haunting and hypnotic scenes. It is macabre and yet beautiful. I couldn't look away and just sat there glued to the TV, breathing shallowly like only Kiyoshi Kurosawa can make me do.
His films have a pace that makes drying paint seem like an adventure sport. But what that means is that every shot of the film is studying something or someone, or something that isn't even there. As with all of his films that I haveseen, in Loft I felt a kind of voyeuristic feeling, like I was there in the scene too. It is hard to describe, but this quality is clearly what alienates some people. What some viewers considere painfully boring, had me on the edge of my seat until the last frame. Watching with empathy, projecting yourself into the shoes of the characters, the film's real depth come to the fold.
And sound really does make all this live, or quite often the lack of sound. Silence is one of the scariest things you can ever hear, as paradoxical as that seems. Kurosawa perhaps knows just how unusual silence actually is in our lives and when it occurs in his films, the effect is haunting. And it also the abruptness of sound in his films. A crescendo of tension in the audio can just suddenly cut off into silence with a change of scene or angle. In many ways it is subtle sound design like this that keeps the viewer on edge and off guard.
Visually, no KK film would be complete with out decrepit buildings in which to fill with shadows, but also this film is incredibly green, being set in a forest. So much of the film isn't in the dark but that doesn't seem to make a difference. The beauty of a KK suspense piece is that it knows that noises and the dark are just cheap thrills. A horror film doesn't need to have them to get under your skin and into your mind, and Loft certainly did that for me.
Is it scary? Well if you are of very sensitive disposition. I would say that it is atmospheric, mesmerising and macabre; and ends up in a place quite different to where it starts out. It is a difficult film to classify and probably because it was made by KK. The film is full of his various trademarks, including awkward tonal shifts mid movie, and manipulation of perception and reality, but it works, though you might not think so at first.
Loft is a film that left with me with the sensation that what I had just witnessed was so much more than what I had managed to surmise from it. It had the aftertaste of something allegorical, that had me feeling that I had understood the message even though I couldn't put into words what it was. It is a film that expects a lot from the viewer, however, if you put in the effort and just let the film draw you along into its dark and twisted logic, Loft is a very rewarding film.
Kiyoshi Kurosawa once said that the ghosts in his films are very Japanese, in that they often don't do anything. Just the fact that they are in these people's lives is horrible enough.
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