Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Enter The Void

Further proof that Gaspar Noe has nothing to say.

Plot in a nutshell: Guy lives in a Tokyo ghetto with his sister. He mostly takes and sells drugs, she strips and whores. Drug deal goes wrong, guy dies, sister grieves, guy's friend moves in to console her, guy gets reborn as their love-child. Oh, and did I mention the Tibetan Book of the Dead? Because the characters do, a few hundred times, without actually giving any reason why that rites-of-passage book has any bearing on, well, anything going on in the film. Except maybe the guy becoming a ghost after he dies, or his spirit floating around or whatever, though even this is a stretch.

About fifteen minutes into this movie, you're thinking "wow, this is very fresh and vibrant, this could be one of the best cinematic experience of the year".

About an hour in, you're thinking "OK, I get it. Now please stop."

The strobe effects are just annoying. The tendency of the camera to zoom and spin into the first visible circular object in a room (fan, stove burner, duct -- any hole will do!) becomes so tiresome that snorts of derision accompanied these transitions halfway through the second hour. The final hotel-of-love scene caused outright laughter when the glowing genitals made their appearance. Maybe a Cannes audience found it offensive, but the audience at the IFC Center just found it ludicrous.

It may seem nit-picking to focus on these three flaws in a film that provided so much in terms of cinematography, seedy sides of Tokyo, and down-and-out lifestyle ... but really, they ruin it. Perhaps the film could have been saved if there was any take-away, but it remains a collection of impressionistic sequences with a "love is all there is and by love we mean sex and such" message tacked onto the end.

* * * R A T I N G * * *

Enter the Void(IMDB)

Wince : [*****] Every time the camera goes into a duct.
Flinch : [**___]
Retch : [**___]
Gape : [**___]
Groan :[**********] Yes, I added that just for this film.

Beerequisite : [****_]
Pornability : [***__]
Obscurity : [*____]
Explicability : [***__]

Memories I want to erase: ...about 3 hours' worth.

What I would do different: Maybe read the Tibetan Book of the Dead, for starters.


NYAFF has been coming across as less and less inspired since their move to Lincoln Center, resulting in a corresponding decrease in attendance. This year, Milocrorze appeared to be one of three films worth seeing (Yellow Sea and Foxy Festival  being the others).

The films opens with a gaudily-dressed kid (picture the Dead Man suit in full color) living with his badly CGIed cat, in his own house as if he were an adult. He meets an adult woman in the park. They fall in love. Eventually she leaves him. He's a child at heart, see? Get it?

The story is replaced by a spotlight on a guy giving love advice to young men. Sure, he's a bit of a prick, and a bit of a misogynist, but the dance numbers are reminiscent of Zebraman 2. Quite fun, and takes a couple of nice shots at introspective-obsessive teenage boys.

After this, there's a samurai story with a somewhat confused and conflicting sense of what period it takes place in (let's take a guess... a "steampunk" setting?). Best to just assume post-apocalyptic and move on. This is the meat of the movie: lots of crazy, fast-slow-fast, gleefully entertaining swordfights. As much a send up of the slashing-katana genre as the previous two segments were of anime and chat shows.

Finally, the wrap-up. The kid from the first segment has "grown up" (still dressing badly) and encounters  the woman he fell in love with, and finally achieves closure. The whole thing has been a metaphor, see? A childlike heart falls obsessively in love, is hurt, becomes a ladykiller, fights an entire lifetime to regain his love, then gets over it.

The middle of the movie was certainly enjoyable, but really, the entire thing was too deliberately quirky and too vapidly symbolic to really take seriously.

* * * R A T I N G * * *

Milocrorze (NYAFF)
MirokurĂ´ze (IMDB)

 Wince : [***__]
 Flinch : [**___]
 Retch : [*****] (* if you are colorblind)
 Gape : [***__]

 Beerequisite : [****_]
 Pornability : [**___]
 Obscurity : [**___]
 Explicability : [**___]

Crossover I'd like to see: Kumagai vs Zebra Queen, dancing on the ground-up corpses of the Black-Eyed Peas.