Full Metal Alchemist: Conquerer of Shambala
Rating: F subtitles/ B film
Let me just say: Worst. Subtitles. EVER.
I can't even begin to tell you how bad they were. But I made a list, so I suppose I will tell you all about it! Nothing made any sense, it was madness!!
First a basic synopsis: In the series before the movie, some portal opened and Edward went through it to save...somebody. I don't know, I haven't seen all of the series yet. On the other side of the portal is our reality and he gets trapped there in Germany right before WW2. He can't use his alchemy anymore, either. It seems like in his own reality, Alphonse got his body back somewhere along the way. Alphonse seems to be trying to figure out how to get Edward back to their reality, and on Edward's side he's just sort of hanging out. He ends up catching wind of some crazy nazi plot that involves alchemy and the mass destruction of Edward’s reality. That's all I'm going to say for now about that, I don't want to ruin this for the people who haven’t seen it yet.
Worst Subtitles EVER
-vague and ambiguous speech that never really indicated what it was referring to (someone talking about something and they just use personification terms instead of actually saying the thing's name)
-they couldn't decide if it was Shambala or Senbarra and interchanged the two names for the same thing depending on who was talking.
-They got most of the characters' names wrong except for Edward and Alphonse (by wrong I mean spelling, here)
WTF how can you spell 'Hitler' wrong?!
-Character's names wrong: calling people the wrong name entirely. There were a few times when someone called Edward 'Alphonese' and I wasn't sure if it was the person speaking in the film hallucinating or being mistaken or if the subtitles were just really bad. I'd go with the latter. They also had an instance where Roy Mustang, The Flame Alchemist, referred to himself as The Full-Metal Alchemist. Again, I wasn't sure if something happened in the series previously that he would have a reason to do this, or if the translation just sucked. I'd go with the second here too, since the entire theatre errupted with laughter and whispering during what was a rather serious scene.
-There were times when they would forget to put spaces between words: andanotherthing. Other times they put too many spaces: don ‘t
-There were some female characters that were apparently gypsies, except the Japanese adaptation of the word from English (pronounced ‘jipusi’) was translated into ‘liar’, ‘cheater’, and ‘thief’ even though we could plainly hear the voice actors saying ‘gypsy’.
-The crazy nazi woman was giving a villainous speech at one point which they forgot to do subtitles for all together.
I’m sure if I had seen all the series up until this point, and the subtitles didn’t suck, this may have been given a ‘B+’ or an ‘A’. The animation was wonderful, the story unique and epic, and well, it’s just one of my most favorite series ever. I'm waiting til the whole series comes out on dvd so I can just nab a box set and see it all at once. Not having seen all of the series made it so that I didn't really know what was going on since there wasn't much history to back it up. I have read all of the manga that is published in Japan to date, (fan-translated on the internet) and that did not help with this at all: the manga and anime are very different as far as the ultimate plot goes. Tony hasn't seen any of the anime really, or read the manga, so he didn't know who anyone was except Edward and Alphonse, in addition to not having any idea what was going on. Fun.
I think the movie itself was fantastic. I've found that when they have movies done for a series in a different animation style, it sometimes causes me to feel differently about the character, especially if the character's voice and attitude are completely different, as well. I've only seen the series with the English dubs, which I think are extremely good as far as dubs go. It was a little weird to hear it with the Japanese voice actors for the first time. I felt that Alphonse Elric's voice was wayyyyyy too female and young. He sounded like a 10 year old child or possibly a girl. He's only one year younger than his brother, and they're around the 14-17 year age range (depending on how much they age in the series, at the point I stopped reading in the manga I think Edward was 16 and Alphonse was 15).
Worlds of Wounded Clay
England, claymation shorts
After Full Metal Alchemist arcanus went across the street to see Aziris Nuna and I stayed for the short films. The picture they have on the festival website of conjoined twins totally sold me on seeing this. I didn’t know what to expect since I didn’t look at the Animus Films website beforehand, but in the end I was extremely pleased. The creator, Robert Morgan, was there for the screening of his four shorts, and did a question and answer session after they aired. They were all rather creepy and thoroughly enjoyable and it was rather a treat to be able to see them on the big screen.
The Animus Films website has all four of them up for viewing, so I’ve linked each title to the apropriate film. Also, Here is the page about Robert Morgan.
The Man in the Lower Left Hand Corner of the Photograph
The first was a film he later told us was a student project. Robert said during the q+a that this film just sort of happened, he had to do a film for a project and it developed as it went along. There are lots of interesting little things and symbols like the prisoner garb and the monkeys statue, and other things I’m sure I didn’t even notice. I found it to be sad, but also whimsical. The walls in the man’s bedroom were strange, they had something on them that had the appearance of badly burned skin or melting plastic. The sound was also interesting, particularly the gross squishy sound of the maggot rolling around, and the music from the gramaphone.
The Cat With Hands
I had actually seen this one before Fantasia though I can’t remember who sent it to me/had me watch it. It’s rather cute and eerie, based on a dream (nightmare) Robert’s sister had as a child. During the q+a some guy started his question with, “It’s obvious you used special effects…” and went on to ask how Robert felt about computer effects or something. As it turns out, the only special effects done by computer for any of the films were the particles floating in the womb in the first scene in The Separation, and the human head that gets a really huge blurry mouth in The Cat With Hands. That was actually a human head shot on film and later distorted; everything else was done on set. A murmur of ‘wow’ went across the room. (and it made that guy look like a total tool)
This was my favorite, it’s completely tragic and brutal and brought up such a well of emotion in me that I cried. But it is also full of sadness and longing but the ending made me smile inwardly but not physically because I was still crying. There was a part (if you watch it I’m sure you’ll know which part) where the audience gasped and cried out collectively. Here’s a quote from the website, “It also made a member of the audience faint from emotional shock in Stuttgart, which made Rob most happy and determined to carry on making films.”
This film was all live action. It was kind of like a bad dream that starts off as an average life for a pre-teen. I found myself wondering if the boy was already seriously screwed up in the head or if it was happening in the film. Certainly, one of the most amusing moments has something to do with a severed goose head and a box of tampons. Robert said later during q+a that when he was a child, his family actually moved near to an insane asylum. He also had found a severed goose head, and taken to childhood fancies, he assumed it was done by an escaped lunatic.
Svetlonos (The Torchbearer)
Czech claymation short
Svetlonos is a claymation short screened with Worlds of Wounded clay. I haven’t been able to find this one online anywhere, so I’ll give a synopsis.
The opening started with the music like that of a music box and paper animation similar to how South Park is done. This was much more artfully executed, with detailed sketches and calligraphy. A drawing of a Roman soldier sitting on a throne is in the center, with a statue of an armless woman on a pillar to either side. A contraption with a long pole spins in the center under the chair and rotates to bring up the sun, and then the moon. As the music slows, so does the spinning of the sun and moon, stopping when it is night with the moon above the man on the chair. It then goes on to ‘regular’ claymation. The main character was a Roman soldier/centurion in plate armor and helmet with a red cape and a spear. He approaches a large impenatrable seeming structure, which he enters. The main hallway is lined with white and aged statues of women, who from the crotch down have not legs but are sitting on pillars. Some were missing pieces of their faces, fingers, had random chunks missing in spots. I’m estimating there was about 16 of them, 8 on each side. He walks casually, and once past the end of the hall, all the statues turn their heads to look in his direction. Several of them skim off into a hallway parallel to the one he is in. They scoot around on their pillars, not making any sound but eerie sing-songy whispering sounds. Two of them are carrying a large diagonal-edged blade between them. They often look through sun sculptures imbeded in the walls to see where he is or what he is doing.
He arrives in a large room, all of the structure is open to the sky, the moon can be seen. There are two doors on the other side of the room, and a statue in the center who holds a cord on each arm that goes into the wall. As he walks near the door, she rotates to one side, pulling a cord that opens one door, with much sound from the mechanisms. As he walks to it to look through, she rotates to the other side, thus opening the other door. He slowly walks to the other to look through. She continues to rotate from side to side, opening and closing the doors. A shot is shown to the audience from the other side of the doors, the large blade we saw the statues with earlier is strung up above the doors and as she rotates, a pulley drags the blade to hang over whichever door is open. He stands back to think about what to do, and three rats come running into the room, dragging a scrap of red cloth entwined around what looks like human bones. They fight and make a lot of noise, one of them is thrown away from the others and tries to attack the soldier. He kicks at it and as it jumps on him, he catches it with his spear and sweeps it up and away, tossing it onto the face of the statue. The statue wigs out. She is flailing her arms trying to get the rat away, pulling the doors open and closed furiously in the process, tearing apart the mechanism by which they operate. The rat tears apart her face. With her head almost completely gone, her arms relax and slump in what seems to be death. The doors fall off their hinges/tracks and lie open. The soldier walks through the nearest one. The damaged blade falls as an afterthought once he is passed.
As he continues to stroll down long dark hallways, parallel to him we see more statues skimming about with coils of cord, and two who each carry a large white wing. He enters a large circular room with a mosaic of a sun in the floor. As he stands there, something swoops down out of the air and attacks him. A huge mechanical bird attacks him; it has cords running out of it down to the ground. In corridors surrounding the room he is in, a statue with the cords attached to her arms scoots around, making the bird fly and dive. As it attacks him several more times, he flails around and catches his spear on one of the cords that attaches it to the statue. It severs and the bird crashes. The statue becomes tangled in cords. He walks over to the bird and spears it in the head, metal screeches on metal as he pulls the spear out. Two other statues rush around behind the scenes, one turns a wheel on a pipe and a bubbling sound is heard. Blood wells up in the gash in the creature’s head, the soldier stabs at the thing several more times before the statue turns off the feed of blood. The statue who was controlling the flying beast had become so tangled in cords that she fell over and had one of her arms from the elbow down ripped almost completely off. (the arms are jointed with two strands of metal) The rats come into the room and begin deconstructing the beast. The man walks on.
He walks into a small area, a door shutting behind him. Ahead of him is a sort of hallway, with several other halls leading off on both the left and right sides (like a maze…). On the far side is a large door with a sun sculpture on the outside. As he steps forward the walls of the paths leading off to either side begin to move very fast back and forth, then stop, then move again. Then a room is shown with red curtains in the back, where a statue is turning a huge crank while looking to another statue near the wall of the front of the room gazes through the sun sculpture in that wall. We get to see out of the eyes of the sun, she is watching the man from behind and cueing the statue at the crank as to when to turn it. He turns from the spinning maze and looks back directly at her, or rather the sun in the wall. He looks for a ponderously long time, then turns to the maze. Viewing the walls from above we can tell they’re curved and are spinning around the area in a circle. There are three walls that spin that are between him and the door he is trying to get to. We don’t see him as he starts to run, but his cape is caught between two of the walls and ground by the stones. His helmet is also shown as it is bashed back and forth between spinning walls. The statue looks out through the sun’s eyes, she can’t see him either. Then we are seeing out of the soldier’s eyes, he is on the other side standing before the door, facing back in the direction he came from. As he is blinking and breathing hard, we see a statue creep out from the right field of view to look around. She sees him and looks startled, by his next blink she is gone. He runs back to where he came from, now with his helmet back on, walks up to the sun and peers through. The statue that was there, backs up, startled, shaking her hands in front of her. He throws his spear through the sun, breaking it. There is a crash and a scream. Looking through the sun again we see the spear has pierced one of the statues through the neck, she is slowly moving back and forth across the room with her head bent back all the way…just sort of hanging there, flapping her arms weakly. The room with the crank is shown from above, the centurion pushes in from the side through some of the curtains and destroys the crank.
He goes back out and walks to the large door. Upon entering, is in another hall like the one he started in, lined with statues. This time they all hold long horns in one hand and as he walks through the hall, they blow the horns in salute, and again when he reaches the end of the processional-way. At the end there are three or so steps that lead up to a flat space. There are two statues on either side. One pulls a lever and a clanking noise is heard. A throne glides forward from behind some hanging gauze into the space, a man sitting on it in a similar roman-style helmet, but he is enrobed in a red cloak with a crown on his head. It seems that he is moving, but it’s actually just the statues unwrapping the cloak from him. They take the crown in one hand, lifting it, and then grasp the cloak in the other, using it to toss forward the body of the man who sat there before. He is all bones, his helmet clanks on the ground and the rats come forward to fight over his remains. The centurion steps up to the throne. The crown is placed on his head and the cloak about his shoulders. I think the horns are blown again but I don’t quite remember. Then the throne starts to retract from whence it came as the lights go down in the throne room. A shot from farther back shows the entire front area…the gauze hanging down and back-lit has the appearance of a skull. There was a little pause in the film that made me think that was the ending for a second, but then we see the man in the chair from above as it clanks backward by some mechanism. It stops finally and he looks around. Some contraption comes out of the wall on the side, though shown zoomed in to indicate that we see it and he doesn’t. It has a huge hollow needle sticking out of the end. The arms holding the needles jab into him from both sides of the walls. And again and again until he has 5 needles ranging down his body from the walls. Something is turned on and the needles start pumping out his blood. The camera traces where the hollow clear pipes are directing it until it reaches a large mechanical looking heart. As the heart fills with blood it slowly starts to beat again, and as it beats, the mechanism that (we saw in the paper animation before the film) turns the day to night and the night to day begins turning. It is now daytime…and the heart pumps at a regular pace, turning day into night and night into day again.
The director has a website with some of his art displayed: http://www.surrealismus.cz/svankmajer/
The Big Empty
USA short film
This short film screened right before Wild Blue Yonder. I couldn’t find it online, so I’ll tell you what happens. I thought it was really cute.
It starred Selma Blair as Alice, a girl who goes to several gynecologists to find out why she aches down there. One of the gynecologists was played by the guy from House (which got some giggles), who said, “There’s nothing wrong with you,” quite matter-of-factly. The general consensus was they didn’t know what was wrong or thought things were wrong that weren’t. A friend of hers recommends a specialist (his card merely says: The Specialist, with phone number). She goes to him, and after inspecting her declares joyfully, “There’s nothing there!” To show her how serious he is about nothing being there, he dives in head-first. That’s correct, folks, right into her vagina. Alice and the nurse both seem alarmed. A little while later he pops back out, covered in snow, to tell her that inside her is a frozen wasteland with nothing around for miles. He asks her to become his research project and they start traveling around, gaining notoriety and fame, etc. Alice doesn’t seem to care about that stuff, she really just wants to find out what is wrong so the pain can go away. While they are on a talk show, they allow audience members to ask questions. One of the questioners is a young man, who asks her, “Does it ever hurt?” As she tries to reply that a matter of fact, it does, they cut to a commercial. After the show, the girl and the doctor are told that they have been asked to come back to the show again.
Their next time on the show, there is a panel of specialists there to speak with Alice and the doctor: a gynecologist, a cartographer, and an arctic explorer. They’re asking questions and discussing crap and one of them expresses his doubts that the frozen wasteland inside of Alice exists. The doctor says, “Well, why don’t you go in there for yourself and see?” There is some hesitation, when a voice from the audience yells, “I’ll go!” It’s the young man from the previous show. So after a bit, he and the three specialists get suited up and jump in. Alice is in a chair like from a gynecologist’s office with stirrups and what-not. They’ve stuck a camera with a live feed inside also so the audience can see the frozen wasteland on the tv screen. After a while the three specialists pop out. The young man is missing, they hadn’t noticed he didn’t come back with them. They go back in but after a while still can’t find him. Alice ends up living on that talk show set, still with the camera inside her, sitting in the chair all the time. They send all kinds of people in to look for him (rock-climbers, sherpas..if I spelled that right) and no one can find him. They have his mother come and try to call him out. She’s there with his favorite casserole, yelling at Alice’s crotch, then dragged away in tears. That night the doctor takes Alice away from the tv studio, he tells her that they’ll crucify her when that boy doesn’t come back. They run away to some podunk hotel in the middle of nowhere, then Alice leaves the doctor and goes somewhere else. She arrives at a beach, where she takes off most of her clothes and goes down to the ocean. As she begins to step into the water it freezes, radiating out from her. It ends up looking like the frozen wasteland inside her…and over a hill in the distance, the young man from the tv show comes running to her yelling her name. They embrace and kiss. The end.
The Wild Blue Yonder
Rating: F (you get an eff!)
German, science fiction
Wow. The most all encompassing thing I can say about this: SNORE. Or maybe: OOPS. I ended up seeing this by accident because I got the title of that and Aziris Nuna mixed up in my mind. Aziris Nuna was on at the same time as Worlds of Wounded Clay, so I wouldn’t have been able to see it anyway. I had decidedly not wanted to see this Wild Blue Yonder, but oh well. I don’t know what I would have done for the hour and a half anyway since everyone we were with was going to see it. As for the film, I think that it had a really amazing concept, but was poorly executed. Allow me to go into detail.
An extra terrestrial (played by Brad Dourif—Wormtongue in LOTR) from Andromeda 8 or something…I forget the number, traveled to Earth several centuries ago with some compatriots from his planet to find a new place to inhabit because their planet was dying. They arrived on Earth with big plans that ended up amounting to nothing. He vents his frustration throughout the film, kicking dirt around at one point. He describes an earthling endeavor to head out into space to find a new planet for us to inhabit when we exhaust this one, and much to his annoyance, they land on his planet. Eventually they come back, only having been gone for 80 years or something, hadn’t realized that over 800 years had passed on Earth and no humans were left, Earth had returned to a state of tranquility.
To go on, the alien raved for a bit, then they would show 15 minutes of astronauts in their space craft doing stuff…or not doing anything at all. The footage was of actual astronauts in space, accompanied by chanting and droning and clanking music. There were a few instances of well-utilized classical, as well. For the most part, I could not STAND the music. The droning sounded like off-key monks, who were in fact intentionally off-key and at some points it would get so loud as to be intolerable. The droning was near constant for the entire film and quite literally made me sick to my stomach. That could have been also added to by the weightless motion of most of the camera work. So after so much astronauts doing nothing with no one speaking, just droooooniiiing, the alien would say some stuff, and then they’d have some scientists tell us important things. There was a chinese scientist who discovered these …man, what did they call them, chaotic space travel tubes? He had charts to describe his work, I perked up a little bit at this because it was kind of an interesting theory. This had something to do with gravitational pull between bodies of mass in space and using them to catapult things faster than the speed of light or some such thing. So the scientist is talking, then he stops. Then he scrunches up his face as if he’s going to say something unpleasant and opens his mouth, and then they cut to another scene. That got some giggles. So after the humans arrive on Andromeda, they begin to explore the surface of the planet, which is all liquid helium. For this they used footage of divers in the ocean beneath a frozen shelf of ice in the Arctic. That was pretty neat except that after about 10 minutes of it there wasn’t really anything new to see. The droning continuted through this scene. There was one point where a diver was poking at some kind of tubular mollusk and the alien’s voiceover proclaims his anger at how the humans mistreated the creatures that lived on his planet, and how all of them can talk and have things to say. I found the video the divers took to be very beautiful in parts, especially where one was swimming up towards the ceiling of ice above his head. The sun was shining down from above lighting up the ice a bit, while tons of paper-thin, fist-sized crystals of ice floated in the water all around like drowning in giant confetti. But the droning continued.
They cut to the chinese scientist sneezing, then cut to another scene. There were some giggles and several whispers, no doubt wondering: wtf?
After some more divers and some more astronauts, there is aerial footage of some amazing looking jungle plateau with crap-tons of waterfalls as the alien talks about there being no man left on the earth. The movie is suddenly over. There are thanks given to the astronauts and such, then we got the hell out of there. I actually tried to sleep at one point and couldn’t. I think Tony did…well, someone we were with did. Later when we discussed it, it seemed like several of us wanted to leave but no one was being the person to just get up and go. Tony mentioned that he usually likes Herzog films, but I myself don’t recall if I have ever seen any.
Done by the same filmmaker who created Calamari Wrestler, arcanus and I had really high hopes for this movie. He saw Calamari Wrestler at Fantasia a couple years ago and superah-freaking loved it. Executive Koala is about a human-size koala who works in the office branch of a Japanese pickle company. He seems to be the model employee with a perfect life. Then his girlfriend disappears and he is suspected of murder. ooOOOOOO!!! It’s actually a guy in a koala suit…but in the movie he’s just a giant koala and everyone is okay with that. The addition of two other human-size animals (his boss who is a giant rabbit, and the guy at the grocery store, who is a giant creepy frog) made him less interesting, I think it would have been much sillier if he were the only giant animal. There didn’t really seem to be a reason for the other two unless the filmmaker meant to illustrate that human-size animals were a completely natural occurrence in the film’s reality. It was pretty cute and funny up to a certain point, but over-all kind of weak. The actor playing the ambassador from a Korean food company always looked like he was right on the edge of laughing. They also used one joke 6 times too many in the same scene. It was funny the first three times but after that it was just redundant and the screechy ‘Psycho’ sound effects came to be irritating. The fight scene at the end was lame and way to psychedelic. So, standing alone, it was amusing, at best, but as arcanus stated while we were leaving the theatre, “It can’t even compare to Calamari Wrestler.”
Canadian, esoteric drama
This was the first film this director had ever done, and also still a work in progress. I found that most of the unfinished parts of the film weren’t what I didn’t like about it. It had a really interesting concept (read the synopsis on the website, I’m starting to tire of typing) in theory, but weak delivery. I think this had much to do with the main actor: imagine Keanu Reeves as Ted trying to be serious and metaphysically philosophical. This was that guy. The plot consisted of the man who found the video camera trying to stay alive long enough to figure out the message the camera was trying to tell him. His ultimate goal seems to be to find the only other person who managed this transcendence: a girl who is also on the camera. Many interesting points and concepts were used from metaphysics and Jungian philosophy and just delivered in a completely bland way. Mostly this involved the main character talking to himself or to his stupid roommate who ended up getting a terminal disease from some slut he cheated on his girlfriend with. The Arcanum itself seems to be a huge vague, all-encompassing message about transcending our imperfections to become something more. I wonder if there was more symbolism in it than I picked up on, I didn’t take notes while watching this one because I was ready to go to bed half-way through Executive Koala. At the end, Syd arrives at his desired destination, wearing all black. The girl he meets is wearing all white. I don’t know if that is meant in reference to the kabbalistic tree of life (if so the colors are wrong, the feminine pillar is black and the masculine pillar is white), yin and yang (again, colors are wrong), or if it has to do with purity/innocence (he killed someone in the course of the film), or something else entirely. There's also a scene where he's floating in the aether or something and talking to a guy in a big cloak who looks kind of like the grim reaper. The reaper's voice distortion was so bizarre that I couldn't really understand most of what he said. The music wasn’t so bad, very ambient and ethereal, though a bit subdued for something so thought-provoking (that happened to be screening really late at night). There was a question and answer session with the director after the film but we skipped out in favor of sleep.
Chinese Short film
This was a Chinese short film that opened for Re-Cycle. It’s about a boy whose girlfriend is pissed at him for talking to another girl (who he was helping with a school assignment). She tells him that if he doesn’t jump to the bottom of the flight of stairs their standing by that she’s going to leave. A flood of memories from his past about that particular set of stairs goes by, including the death of his grandmother (or someone’s grandmother, it was hard for me to tell from the grammar), and a time he did jump down the stairs when being chased by some threatening guy. In the end he just walks away from his girlfriend and resolves to live as he believes is right.
You have to see this.
This film ended up being so popular and entirely sold-out that a third showing of it was added for Monday. Most of the peeps we met up with who lived in Montreal wanted to see this and ended up not being able to get tickets because they waited too long. The only other place the film is currently showing is Hong Kong, so they were adamant about people not bringing in cameras and other recording equipment as they didn’t want the film bootlegged.
Absolutely amazing. Re-Cycle is the closest thing I have seen to a true dream sequence of events in film. (at least on the perspective of how exceedingly surreal my own dreams are..the other night i dreamt i was in a mystical museum for live seedling species of moss) A very bad dream, of course. I don’t really want to write too much about it because I think people should just see it, though it may be a while before it’s out on DVD, seeing as how it’s still in theatres in China, currently. And might I add: ZOMBIES!! The website actually gives away a few of the visual suprises, so I am hereby liberated of being the one to spoil it for you. The red hallway is the most out of control thing ever.
All encompassing quote from the website: “The film is based on the assumption that all forgotten and forsaken people and objects are put away in another world…”
The main plot is a female writer starts working on her next big novel, which will be a supernatural thriller. She knows the title before she even starts to write it, “The Recycle”. As she is writing weird shit starts to happen to her, until reality blends with what she is writing about and she can’t escape. It was completely surreal, rather frightening at parts. The first big scare made pretty much everyone in the theatre jump. Some girl in the center back of the theatre screamed so loud it sounded like it was part of the soundtrack. There were many rather ‘Silent Hill’ type elements, including a female ghost with very long hair, akin to the ghosts in the subway in Silent Hill 4 (those annoying ones that can’t be exterminated). I want to write so badly about all of the totally sweet things about this film but that will ruin it for people who will see it eventually. Go to the website and watch the trailers or something. arcanus and I spent a bit of time discussing what we thought happened at the end. I’m not sure we came to a solid conclusion. I thought the film indirectly tried to corner some serious issues that are a part of normal Chinese culture. I can't actually say exactly which extremely particular issue it is because it would just give away the whole movie....well, most of it. I am totally getting this as soon as it’s out on dvd, maybe after some more people see it I’ll write a more thorough synopsis.
Iranian animation short
On a vast white, barren expanse, a soldier standing behind a kneeling man executes him with a shot to the back of his head. The audience witnesses it from a ‘phantom’ video camera. The soldier soon finds something strange is going on. Whenever he moves or tries to walk, he hits invisible walls. It turns out that he can’t move outside the frame of what the camera is showing, the frame also being able to push him around against his will. Eventually he is tortured by this to the edge of a cliff, where he plunges to his demise. The camera rewinds it and does it again.
The Great Yokai War
Japanese children’s epic
Takashi Miike does a children’s film. (Director of Gozu and Ichi the Killer) I loved this movie, it totally rules!! It starts off with a young boy named Tadashi who lives in the country with his mom and his senile grandfather. At a village festival, the dancing dragon chooses him as the next Kirin Rider, a hero out of fable. Elsewhere, dark forces are rising and harming the yokai, creatures/spirits from Japanese folklore. The boy soon finds that the Kirin Rider is more than an old story as he steps up and tries to be a hero. But he forgot to eat his azuki beans. The azuki beans are key.
The costumes are seriously amazing!! There were too many creature creations to properly absorb during the film. There were also giant evil robots, the psycho-chick from Battle Royale and Kill Bill, a Kirin Beer joke, a one-legged yokai smith with disturbing nipples, and SWORRRDS! The film itself also covered a lot of darker, heavier issues as many Japanese children’s shows do(in contrast to american tv shows)(loss of loved ones, death, anger, grudges, hatred, and loss of innocence). It’s definitely a film that can be enjoyed by both children and adults. One of my favorite quotes, “A child who doesn’t read makes a worthless child.” Heh!
Here is the website for the film: http://yokai-movie.com/index.html