Thursday, June 4, 2015

Obscure movies I recommend (Japan focus)

Lately I have been watching a lot of movies I normally wouldn't, and I think that they are beautifully executed and made.

Helter Skelter ヘルタースケルター「2012」
Director: Mika Ninagawa


Image from google

This movie originally caught my attention because I had seen a lot of shorts of it on tumblr, but when I watched it it was very physicological, and it had a lot of depth to it. Originally it was a five volume manga 「That I also read,」and the story line was almost identical to the manga.
The story line consists around a model named Lilico 「ルルこ」 who is a top model after getting plastic surgery from head to toe, but thats a secret. However after a while the clinic where Lilico got her plastic surgery starts to undergo a police investigation, because the police start to find a string of murders where all of the murder victims went to get plastic surgery at that clinic, and the police start to look into the clinic. At the same time that this is going on Lilico's rising popularity with the fans, and her popularity as a model sky rockets, and  she enjoys the attention of the media, and fans. As the story continues Lilico starts unraveling starting with her plastic surgery. Lilico starts to develop these bruises, and when she goes back to the clinic for treatment she starts to sense that something is wrong, because a lot of clients start to show up in a panic at the clinic with the same bruises like Lilico. At first Lilico is startled but as the story unravels the bruises start to take a toll on her mental health, making her doubt the people that she is surrounded by.

I thought the execution of the movie was wonderful. I loved the color palette it was set to. I loved the story line. I love how the actors put in a lot of depth into their characters. The characters in this film where very complex and it was apparent that the actors worked hard to build that depth. Also the transitions between the scenes were flawlessly made. Overall I felt very satisfied at the ending as well as the story. I just felt sorry that there wasn't more, because it was that well made.


If Helter Skelter left you empty and feeling like you'll never see another movie as good as that don't worry I've got you covered.


The World of Kanako 「2014」
Director: Tetsuya Nakashima


Image from Tumblr


This movie's storyline is very twisted and that's what I found intresting about this movie. There's never really a straight forward answer in this movie about the overall question that the storyline makes you ask yourself it's always implied what happened, but you do not get a definative answer.

The storyline for this movie is that Kanako is the daughter of divorcee, alcoholic detective Akikazu, and she's been missing for three to four days when his ex wife calls him asking for his help to find her. So he starts to look for Kanako, but given his alcoholic nature he hasn't seen Kanako in some time it is implied that he cares about her, but does not know how to care for his child. Kanako's mother is concerned more in herself than she is in her daughter, and the only reason she is really looking for Kanako, and ver briefly might I add, is because she thinks her ex husband Akikazu kidnapped her. However as the story starts Akikazu has an idea of his daughter being a pure good kid who got caught up in a bad crowd, because of their parental neglect however it very quickly becomes doubtful if Kanako really was a good kid to begin with. As the story continues we find that Kanako developed ties with the Yakuza, and is in deep trouble with everyone. It is discovered that she was running a trafficking ring. However it is always questioned just how evil she really is. Does Akikazu find her? You are just going to have to watch to find out.

The storyline was intresting. I found it intresting to see how all of people really tied in to Kanako, as well as how Akikazu her father started to change as he discovered all of the layers of Kanako. As far as the acting goes I was very convinced by the acting however I was not fully blown away by it. There were a lot of minor characters that I thought were very well executed, as well as Akikazu it was very well executed, and also I really liked how all of the characters changed as different things were being revealed to them. However I was not convinced by the actress who played Kanako, and I'm not sure if it was the director's choice to have her be so bland, or it was the actress, however her performance was very bland she could of done certain things differently or simpler and it would of gotten the point across much better. The actual film was very well made as well I felt that the scenery changes as well as the palette were very well done. There were some scenes that needed just a little bit more light because it was hard to see what was going on but other than that I really enjoyed the movie.

Kamikaze Girls 「2004」
Director: Tetsuya Nakashima

Image found on google

I love this movie so much I feel that it should be kept in a treasure box. Now for you crazy kids yes Anna Tsuchiya is in here! 「Anna Tsuchiya = Rocker Nana from Manga Nana (you know that manga that messed up the majority of the world and made you want to die or was it just me?)」

The storyline of this movie is seriously funny. Its not like ridiculous hilarious its serious, but funny at the same time. It is the unlikely story of how a lolita Momoko accepts the friendship of a girl who is in a biker gang Ichigo, and how they both go through obstacles and experience each others world through their friendship. Its mainly the Lolita Momoko telling the story of her life and how her biker friend Ichigo comes to forcefully integrate herself into Momoko's life. It starts with Momoko who comes off as self absorbed telling her life and her love for "anything rococo," and how the brand Baby the Stars Shine Bright shaped her life and how she had to be an adult because her parents were not the brightest parents, and after her mom leaves her "idiot" dad for the doctor who helped her mom give birth to her she learned to parent herself and was taught by the world to be self absorbed and selfish to get herself forward. In order to keep up with her desires to buy dresses form Baby the Stars Shine Bright she sells her fathers old knockoff designer goods, and that's when Ichigo appears into Momoko's life. However Ichigo went to Momoko to but knock off designer goods and then she started showing up at Momoko's house after that to forcefully become Momoko's friend.

Everything is perfect about this movie. This movie changed Lolita culture entirely by the way. It's just perfect the acting is well done (I mean come on now Anna Tsuchiya messed us up in Nana there's no need to expect less. Although Nana came after this so yes it only gets better.)

Memories of Matsuko 「2006」
Director: Tetsuya Nakashima


Image from Google

Sticking with my twisted storyline theme I've got going here Memories of Matsuko in some ways reminded me of Hitsudan Hostess with Keiko Kitagawa but it is very different. The story seem very whimsical. The themes discussed in the story were hard themes  and the questions asked throughout the story were challenging and hard themes however the entire time I felt like I was a child being told the story and I enjoyed feeling and getting lost in the illusion of the story. 

Memories of Matsuko is about a woman whose entire life was (for lack of a better word) screwed over by the people that she loved or tried to love, because she was always in some sort of abusive relationship, and a lot of it tied back to her father not paying too much attention to her. Then she was disowned by her family. The entire story was told by the people who knew her to her nephew, because she had been found murdered four days before. The nephew having just found out about his disowned aunt is sent to her former apartment where he starts to clean it out her apartment, and as he is cleaning it out the people who were involved in his aunt's life start to show up and tell him bits and pieces of how they were involved with his aunt, and slowly it starts to come together until it is resolved who killed his aunt. As the storyline goes the nephew starts to appreciate and learn about his disowned aunt.

The story is told like in a theater there are various acts to the movie and it is told from various perspectives it isn't until the absolute very end that it is told from the aunt's perspective and it starts to come together. Overall the acting is great.  The character built is very well done, and this director makes excellent choices with how to move the story along I feel like he tried to infuse opera and theater together and he got this wonderful storyline as well as movie choices. Basically I really dig this director.

That is all for now.
-Fatima

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