Saturday, November 19, 2011

Subconscious Film - Criterion Collection - Onibaba (1964)

These essays are specifically for reading after ones personal viewing


        I fell in love with Kineto Shindo after his mesmerizingly-fantastique, Kuroneko. He instantly became my favorite Japanese director (specifically for the purpose of me not having one yet, despite having seen a fair share of Japanese films). I quickly gathered myself after watching Kureneko during the, Seafarers Annual 31 Days Of Horror Fest, and clicked the Wish List on each of the films that followed his carrer in Criterion. A friend and fellow writer of The Seafarers, reached his purchase before mine was even shipped; apparently, I wasn't the only one in on this fixation.

        If you don't love or aren't familiar with Japanese culture, it'll be obvious when sitting and watching a film like Onibaba with you. And next will follow a series of play-on-word-puns from those friends, and eventually joining in because of its addictiveness: "She must feel so alonibaba," "Quick! Throw the stonibaba!" "This guy is such a moanibaba," "This movie has such an odd tonibaba,""This guy wants a little bonibaba." Are those even play-on-words? A double entendre, maybe? Anyways, luckily I had my notebook, or I wouldn't have remembered anything else. 

        Quite close are the themes in both films: the two main characters are a lonibaba mother, whose lost her son to the war, and her lonibaba daughter-in-law. The sexual repression is steaming from the moment we enter the film. The women sleep with their chests bare, due to the sweltering nights of Japan, that enslave their sexual fantasies and heighten the sense of deliriousness to those famished by small rashons of war. And we are constantly presented with fantastic shots of wheat, waving like a mother wanting back the son she's lost.

      As the younger gets involved with the returned samurai, the sweat and anything leading up to that sweat, is a metaphor into the mothers lost and wanting womb: beating clothes on logs and licking lips, licking chickens as a form of flirting. Not that I don't love the metaphors and cinematography - the young woman meeting the samurai through the wheat field and their outlines becoming only bodies, later used for the satisfaction of lust - but the tediousness does settle in a bit with the mothers progression of jealousy. And it's until she decides to do something where we find ourselves again, lost in the folklore of Shindonibaba.

        This mother has been enslaved by her lonibabaness, if the girl runs off with the samurai, she'll have nothing. After seeing the couple together for the first time late at night, she runs out to a large and thick tree and throws her arms around it - crying and wanting the lust of this tree to repress her thoughts of loneliness, like it does for the young couple. 

        I liked Onibaba. I think you can see the progression through Onibaba, to Kureneko and how much Shindo had grownibaba'd. But Onibaba leaves you satisfied during the strong hits of release upon the mask of torture. And when the mask is removed, all the sins are presented to us, not in the afterlife, but upon the earth that stirs up its hate. 

The Seafairy


Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Subconscious Film - Broken Flowers (2005)

These essays are specifically for reading after ones personal viewing

      We don't know much about Bill Maury's character, Don, but latch onto his lazy and seemingly un-caring characteristics to find out why he's the way he is. We find him in the first moments of the film being left by his girl friend, who's reason for leaving is she can't go on alone, could only explain carelessness of his character so perfectly. Some might find this trait of character uninteresting or annoying. But I find myself curious with his nature and watch to wait for a development in his character or a purpose at all for any motivation. 

        Don has a next door neighbor who's also his best-friend and is married with plenty of little kinder. Don doesn't seem to be jealous of his kids, but so much sadness surrounds Don's face we know his unhappy life could only be worsened by those who surround him. But his friend Winston truly loves his friend and motivates Don enough (almost forcing him) to go on a journey. 

        I love the subconscious personal elements of the interaction between people Jarmusch presents to the audience: while Don is sitting waiting for his plane, he notices a pretty girl sitting to his left about two seats away from him. They look at each other, without absolutely any knowledge of that other persons personal experiences in life or reason for traveling, other than what they can see with their eyes. Tilting their heads, peripherally-flirting, and constantly wondering who this person is, where they're going; knowing they will never see each other again, and never knowing of things that once could be between them. Thinking about that aspect of lost relationship in their mind, while tingled eyes glair at rims of skin. 

        There were most definitely irks. One in particular of a tilting 90 degree shot of a plane landing overhead that for some reason made me want to turn the film off. I think it was because I just was so mad at how bad a shot it was that I couldn't feel Jarmusch would actually put that in his film, and personally feel he didn't... A cliche - turn the T.V. on and see the plot happening  in the movie - sequence made me do a little eye-roll, and the dream sequences, although complemented with great editing and color, felt empty to any meaning of development in story. But those were just little annoyance I felt were necessary to explain my overall feelings toward the movie. I dislike when people talk about things negatively for the purpose of being negative, when focusing on the positive can be a much more satisfying and progressive force. I'm speaking of these small problems on a technical outlook and wish to not leave my readers with questions about my criticisms; to why I feel the way I do. Having that being said, I left the most positive aspects for last.

        There's a scene where Don visits and delivers flowers to one of his ex-girlfriend's gravestones who he recently, because of this journey, found out she'd passed away. This is the first time we get to experience compassion with and for Don. Finally learning that things in his life have actually meant something to him, or maybe they always do and he just hides it. Or maybe it's this one person in his life that left such an impact on him, he's the way he is now. Not having to actually travel to the graveyard where she's buried, Don goes there anyway to give his condolences. As Don puts the flowers down whispering a sweet but sad, "Hey there, beautiful," we sit with him by the tree and our eyes swell with bits of rain slowly starting to descend. The scene ends a little short but Jarmusch doesn't want to toy with tearjerking emotions.

        We see a similar look in Don at the end of the film and remember why we followed him through this journey, and with small, supportive talk of philosophical advice, Jarmusch ends his story with swirling cameras reflecting thought.


The Seafairy