Japon Reviews

  • Oct 08, 2017

    Full of confronting images that seem to declare "this is real life, don't look away" but also gentle meditative and scenic - it is hard to know what to make of Carlos Reygadas' debut feature (now 15 years old). A man travels to a remote canyon telling those that take him there that he aims to kill himself (evoking a Mexican version of Kiarostami's A Taste of Cherry). He rents space in a barn from an old woman who lives high up above the town. Reygados uses widescreen 16mm which gives a strange faded texture to the image which the light often bleaches out; the images are beautifully composed or startlingly odd (in form and content). One can't help thinking about the choices that the director is making. Although slow, the film casts a hypnotic spell as the story unfolds and grand themes (eros, thanatos) jostle with the rough and simple life of the Mexican peasants (nonprofessionals, all), occasionally to the strains of opera heard on the protagonist's headphones (there are many point-of-view or subjective shots). We wait to see what the man will do, wondering what has driven him to this faraway location, but he slowly begins to feel concern for his landlady, Ascen (for Ascension), and the issues she faces in her community. Perhaps his subsequent "intervention" into her life amounts to despoiling or tainting, resulting in the final tracking shot (which I only gradually understood). However, other interpretations may be possible; this is definitely a film where viewers are left to draw their own conclusions. Personally, I couldn't shake the feeling that the natural world portrayed here is a harsh one and that we humans must do what we can to cope with it.

    Full of confronting images that seem to declare "this is real life, don't look away" but also gentle meditative and scenic - it is hard to know what to make of Carlos Reygadas' debut feature (now 15 years old). A man travels to a remote canyon telling those that take him there that he aims to kill himself (evoking a Mexican version of Kiarostami's A Taste of Cherry). He rents space in a barn from an old woman who lives high up above the town. Reygados uses widescreen 16mm which gives a strange faded texture to the image which the light often bleaches out; the images are beautifully composed or startlingly odd (in form and content). One can't help thinking about the choices that the director is making. Although slow, the film casts a hypnotic spell as the story unfolds and grand themes (eros, thanatos) jostle with the rough and simple life of the Mexican peasants (nonprofessionals, all), occasionally to the strains of opera heard on the protagonist's headphones (there are many point-of-view or subjective shots). We wait to see what the man will do, wondering what has driven him to this faraway location, but he slowly begins to feel concern for his landlady, Ascen (for Ascension), and the issues she faces in her community. Perhaps his subsequent "intervention" into her life amounts to despoiling or tainting, resulting in the final tracking shot (which I only gradually understood). However, other interpretations may be possible; this is definitely a film where viewers are left to draw their own conclusions. Personally, I couldn't shake the feeling that the natural world portrayed here is a harsh one and that we humans must do what we can to cope with it.

  • Sep 18, 2016

    Poor Tarkovskij is turning in his grave

    Poor Tarkovskij is turning in his grave

  • Jul 29, 2014

    A very slow film where we follow a man walking around in a canyon of some sort. Gis destination is unknown, but his own suicide is certain. It's got an semi-artsy vibe with little dialogue and few real happenings. This makes it flat, naturally. It's not very interesting, but it got some nice features and details that makes it watchable the first hour or so. We get some great moments with rain and nature shots and that is a highlight for the first half of the film. The rain stuff reminds me of the directors amazing "Stellet Licht" actually. It keeps going, but it never get especially interesting. It's a film to observe and it probably need some time to sink in since it's hard to rate this film directly after seeing it. The director have some usage of original or special nude scenes, and I know that Reygadas has done that before. Honest, deep, sad and sometimes dreamlike film. It's Dogme-like and artsy, pretty weird and an open mind is needed while watching this film. It felt long, and it's best discribed at boring, but it will stay with me as a whole. The closing shot is amazing and lift the film a whole lot as a total experience. 6 out of 10 pulque drinks.

    A very slow film where we follow a man walking around in a canyon of some sort. Gis destination is unknown, but his own suicide is certain. It's got an semi-artsy vibe with little dialogue and few real happenings. This makes it flat, naturally. It's not very interesting, but it got some nice features and details that makes it watchable the first hour or so. We get some great moments with rain and nature shots and that is a highlight for the first half of the film. The rain stuff reminds me of the directors amazing "Stellet Licht" actually. It keeps going, but it never get especially interesting. It's a film to observe and it probably need some time to sink in since it's hard to rate this film directly after seeing it. The director have some usage of original or special nude scenes, and I know that Reygadas has done that before. Honest, deep, sad and sometimes dreamlike film. It's Dogme-like and artsy, pretty weird and an open mind is needed while watching this film. It felt long, and it's best discribed at boring, but it will stay with me as a whole. The closing shot is amazing and lift the film a whole lot as a total experience. 6 out of 10 pulque drinks.

  • Jul 24, 2014

    The PC police are at work here. I was led astray by AO Scott (NY Times) and Manohla Dargis (LA Times). These two reviewers usually are very accurate in their movie reviews. This time I think the emperor wore no clothes. This is one of those Art Films that has very little story and leaves more questions than it answers. I found very little to recommend. Our nameless hero travels to a remote Mexican village to shoot himself. We have no idea why. He stays a few days with an elderly widow. There are some vague references to Catholic Christianity. The widow has a name/nickname that references the figure of Christ. Our hero finds occasion to lay upon his bed in a Christ on the cross posture. The mountain scenery that was purported to be strikingly beautiful; was mostly dry and rocky. There were some distant valleys that appeared to be green farm fields. The story moves at a glacial pace. Events take place. And, we have a not surprising ending. This movie might appeal to Catholics, people with a fondness for Mexico, or those with an existential bent of mind. It was not for me. I do not recommend it.

    The PC police are at work here. I was led astray by AO Scott (NY Times) and Manohla Dargis (LA Times). These two reviewers usually are very accurate in their movie reviews. This time I think the emperor wore no clothes. This is one of those Art Films that has very little story and leaves more questions than it answers. I found very little to recommend. Our nameless hero travels to a remote Mexican village to shoot himself. We have no idea why. He stays a few days with an elderly widow. There are some vague references to Catholic Christianity. The widow has a name/nickname that references the figure of Christ. Our hero finds occasion to lay upon his bed in a Christ on the cross posture. The mountain scenery that was purported to be strikingly beautiful; was mostly dry and rocky. There were some distant valleys that appeared to be green farm fields. The story moves at a glacial pace. Events take place. And, we have a not surprising ending. This movie might appeal to Catholics, people with a fondness for Mexico, or those with an existential bent of mind. It was not for me. I do not recommend it.

  • Nov 13, 2013

    Japón es la historia de un hombre que está decidido a terminar con su vida, pero en el transcurso, durante el tiempo que pasa en un lejano pueblo, sufre una transformación y un redescubrimiento personal que lo harán cambiar de parecer. Es la muestra de que la esperanza existe. Es la muestra de que el arrepentimiento y la renovación son posibles. Con bellas imágenes (a pesar de tener una especie de filtro o un trabajo de corrección de color horripilante), interesantes secuencias y sin muchos diálogos, Reygadas demuestra el proceso de conversión y purificación de un hombre y el reencuentro de su amor por la vida. A pesar de contar con varios puntos a su favor, sobre todo en el aspecto ideológico y en su mensaje, posee varios aspectos perjudiciales, como el ritmo lento no muy bien empleado y la utilización de actores amateur que en varias ocasiones arruinan el flujo de la cinta y le restan credibilidad a lo que sucede en pantalla. Es una película que podría parecer simple y poco profesional, sin embargo, es una cinta compleja y hasta simbólica que puede dar cabida a diversas interpretaciones. No fue de mi completo agrado, pero este filme es definitivamente un trascendental paso para Carlos Reygadas.

    Japón es la historia de un hombre que está decidido a terminar con su vida, pero en el transcurso, durante el tiempo que pasa en un lejano pueblo, sufre una transformación y un redescubrimiento personal que lo harán cambiar de parecer. Es la muestra de que la esperanza existe. Es la muestra de que el arrepentimiento y la renovación son posibles. Con bellas imágenes (a pesar de tener una especie de filtro o un trabajo de corrección de color horripilante), interesantes secuencias y sin muchos diálogos, Reygadas demuestra el proceso de conversión y purificación de un hombre y el reencuentro de su amor por la vida. A pesar de contar con varios puntos a su favor, sobre todo en el aspecto ideológico y en su mensaje, posee varios aspectos perjudiciales, como el ritmo lento no muy bien empleado y la utilización de actores amateur que en varias ocasiones arruinan el flujo de la cinta y le restan credibilidad a lo que sucede en pantalla. Es una película que podría parecer simple y poco profesional, sin embargo, es una cinta compleja y hasta simbólica que puede dar cabida a diversas interpretaciones. No fue de mi completo agrado, pero este filme es definitivamente un trascendental paso para Carlos Reygadas.

  • Jul 11, 2013

    Tedious and deliriously beautiful, though unfortunately not in equal measure. The first act is pretty compellingly weird, but it promises something that never really materialises; the narrative stops dead in its tracks once he moves in with the old lady and it never really recovers. Shows promise, though.

    Tedious and deliriously beautiful, though unfortunately not in equal measure. The first act is pretty compellingly weird, but it promises something that never really materialises; the narrative stops dead in its tracks once he moves in with the old lady and it never really recovers. Shows promise, though.

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    John B Super Reviewer
    May 30, 2013

    A terribly boring last journey to death. Frankly, I lacked patience with this film.

    A terribly boring last journey to death. Frankly, I lacked patience with this film.

  • May 28, 2011

    The only thing this movie does well is showing animals being treated like shit. What a piece of garbage...

    The only thing this movie does well is showing animals being treated like shit. What a piece of garbage...

  • Oct 02, 2010

    "Carlos Reygadas' Japón is heavily influenced by Andrei Tarkovsky's naturalistic style; but, falters in an effort to straddle the fence between different worlds." Martin G. Wood. That was exactly what i thought while watching.

    "Carlos Reygadas' Japón is heavily influenced by Andrei Tarkovsky's naturalistic style; but, falters in an effort to straddle the fence between different worlds." Martin G. Wood. That was exactly what i thought while watching.

  • Aug 15, 2010

    cool movie. a little long and pretentious but visually pretty incredible. if you told me this was made in 1976 i'd have believed it. way better than his other movie "battle in heaven" which i found very tedious.

    cool movie. a little long and pretentious but visually pretty incredible. if you told me this was made in 1976 i'd have believed it. way better than his other movie "battle in heaven" which i found very tedious.