Jingi naki tatakai (Battles Without Honor and Humanity)(The Yakuza Papers)(War Without a Code) Reviews
Emoting tears and groveling bosses lend an air on inauthenticity which ran contrary to the billing, as it would be hard to credit anybody in any culture willing to die for a family whose leader was seen regularly to cry at first sign of troubles.
Still, there is enough for me to try the next volume of the five part film, to see if things improved as it progressed. This one fell short for me though.
[b]Black Cat, White Cat[/b]: this is my first experience with mr. Kusturica and I must said I'm delighted. First of all, I didn't expect this film to be so darned crazy. It's a bit messy at times, exaggerated at others, but overall quite pleasing (including a "happy end"). This movie is breathtakingly energetic and inventive. I won't deny its flaws, but it's a great deal of fun and sure keeps you smiling all the way through; the acting is addecuate as well (at times mad as the film itself). A very amusing portrait of the life at the balkans; I'll sure be checking more stuff by Kusturica.
[b]Perfect Blue: [/b]this is one brilliant movie which starts quite lightly yet gets very paranoidal and exciting near the end. I really didn't like the animation at first, but one can't deny it's well directed. The film presents an engrossing and unconventional plot concerning the fears of a pop star when she realizes she's being creepily stalked by someone. I thought this film was engaging but just not my kind of stuff; I admit some of the sequences are very accomplished, though (yet the conclusion was just too much). Kudos for the atmospheric soundtrack and the spot on voice acting.
[b]The Yakuza Papers[/b]: this, as you will have observed, is named [i]Battles Without Honor and Humanity[/i] in some areas. After watching the movie, I think I'm a good position to confirm the fact that Fukasaku is the best yakuza film director ever. That doesn't mean his are the best overall films, yet he manages to portray the yakuza in an authentic and breathtaking way; he's also the king of brawls and shootouts. This film is very confusing, considering its extense cast of characters, and a bit dizzy and uneven (that damn camera is just too fast at times). But it's exciting and expertedly crafted, a must for yakuza fans. Oh, and Bunta Sugawara rocks.
if you're familiar with the history of postwar japan it will help you understand the context of this story but even then it's a film that will disorientate you in 2 ways: 1) the camerawork is very shaky and the camera always seems to be moving; 2) the rate at which characters are introduced and their stories sidetracked and brought back will leave you wondering where the story is headed.
the aim of the film is not really to glorify the underworld; it's target is wider i'd say. clearly it's a commentary on japanese society as a whole after world war 2 - at least that's my conclusion after having read "embracing defeat: japan in the wake of world war 2" by john w. dower.