I sold this story to Wheatland Press, for their Polyphony 7 anthology.
Original Title: Yajikita dôchû Teresuko
Director: Hideyuki Hirayama
Though a bit slow to get going, this one does eventually take off.
Their really isn’t much of a plot. An over-the-hill prostitute, an actor and another man hit the road in feudal Japan. They stay at inns and have various adventures (a bit like the book Shank’s Mare). A racoon turns into a child. Dried sea monster for lunch. Full of subtle and not so subtle humour. Amusing acting. Several absurd scenes (the recipe for racoon hot-pot being especially interesting).
Anyhow, definitely worth a watch.
The soundtrack seems to have been gleaned from some spaghetti western, but I can’t figure out which.
My story La Fille de cire is out in the latest edition of Le Calepin Jaune. The original title of this story is The Girl of Wax. It was actually slated to be published in English three different times, but each time disaster struck the book/publication.
Anyhow, now it is out in French, translated by Estelle Valls de Gomis.
My story The Tongue has been translated into Spanish, as La Lengua, and is up at La Idea Fija.
This is a sort of strange film.
With a brilliant opening scene, I was soon convinced it was going to be great. Unfortunately, due to a plot that I had a hard time figuring out, whether because to my own lack of Japanese history or inadequately translated subtitles, and long stretches of dramatic dialogue, I ended up being let down.
That doesn’t mean of course that it is a bad film, because it isn’t. The one real fight sequence is truly brilliant. The director,, Daisuke Itô, also ads a number of touches, in the way he brought out the narrative, that were very interesting. Stills. The screen going completely red when a head is cut off. Etc.
The story revolves around a country samurai set on transforming Japan, getting rid of the Emperor and introducing a parliamentary system of government.
Toshiro Mijune is billed in this, but his appearance is brief and not very noteworthy. The real stars here are Kinnosuke Nakamura and Tatsuya Nakadai. The latter is of course always brilliant. As for the former, my only real previous knowledge of him was from the Lone Wolf TV series, in which he seemed somewhat bland to me. Here he does a much better job and his character (as the country samurai previously mentioned) is relatively interesting.
Here is a clip:
When he says he doesn’t like war, he sounds insincere. Very, very insincere.
This is certainly the best karate film to have come out in recent years. Though the story is predictable and the script has its faults, the action scenes raise to must-see level for all fans of karate films. Partially this is due to the understatement of many of the fights. They last only a moment, much like some of the samurai duels in Kurosawa.
The lead actors, Akihito Yagi and Tatsuya Naka really are experts at karate, and often move with mind-boggling swiftness. Lets hope there are future films with these fellows. Tatsuya Naka I found particularly convincing in the role of the wayward Taikan.
It looks like my this collection will be out around September, from Better Non Sequitur press. Many of the stories have been published individually, but I think the collection will be greater than the sum of its parts.
The table of contents is as follows:
- Mexico City
- New York
Zombie vs. Ninja: The low water mark of lousy films. If one can get past the silly costumes, terrible dialogue and complete lack of plot however, it is an interesting experience and does have some decent action sequences.
Be Kind Rewind: Funny. But funny in a way that is relatively low-key. Recommended.
L’Ingorgo: This film takes place entirely in a traffic jam somewhere outside of Rome. Though not quite at the level of the best surreal Italian masterpieces, it is still very watchable, especially as it has an excellent cast. I am not sure if it is available in English, but it should be.
Swing Girls: This is a comedy about a group of Japanese students who form a Jazz band. Great stuff.
Ogro: Starring Gian Maria Volontè, this Italian Spanish co-production deals with a group of Basque separatists planning the assassination of Carrero Blanco. Pretty much every aspect of this film is top-notch. See it if you can.