All posts tagged: social commentary

Eye-One-Made-in-Japan

Made in Japan

A brutal murder by a minor happens along the river of an industrial area. Kyoichi works at a factory nearby and happens upon an article about the crime in a magazine. He realizes the culprit was a subordinate at the place he worked part-time a while ago. When Kyoichi posts this realization on Twitter, he is inundated with interview requests from the mass media. So, he accepts an offer from a reporter. The latest by Matsumoto Yusaku is a 30 minute short which takes on media sensationalism and that buzzword of the times “fake news” through the story’s developments. He aims to ask important questions about whether or not the mass media acknowledges and takes responsibility for lies compounded by more lies after they gobble up and sensationalize a story. Conversely, he also seeks to question the populace’s seeming disinterest in learning the actual truth to the latest media scandals, challenging unempathetic attitudes in either creating, consuming, or propagating information in the age of social media. The trailer below again displays Matsumoto’s penchant for holding …

Eye-On-Noise

Noise

8 years have passed since a indiscriminate killing spree occurred in Akihabara. Three lives intersect in this internationally known sub-culture mecca: an underground idol whose mother was killed in that crime, a high school girl living on Akihabara’s streets who has ran away from home due to her strained relationship with her father, and a young delivery man who takes out his frustrations of his mother’s betrayal out on the city. Their respective anguish and emotional conflicts paint a picture of the loneliness and gloom of the people living in Akihabara. Director Matsumoto Yusaku experienced two incomprehensible situations when he was 15-years-old. One was the the suicide of a friend from his middle-school years, and the second was the Akihabara massacre that was shown on television. Noise is Matsumoto’s attempt at linking those two events in his youth by laying bear the light and dark sides of modern society. By some accounts, the movie has been embraced by Matsumoto’s peers as well as earning the praise from critics and festivals at home and abroad. It …

Eye-One-Complicity

Complicity

Chen Liang has come from China’s Henan Province to work in Japan as a technical trainee, but runs away from his place of training and becomes an illegal resident. He lies to his mother back home that he is continuing his training all the while performing work-for-hire petty larceny. In an unexpected turn of events, he takes a call for a job meant for another and pretends to be that person. He starts his new life living and working at an elderly soba master’s soba restaurant in Yamagata with the fear that his identity could be exposed at any moment. The feature length debut by Chikaura Kei deals with a timely issue–that of foreign workers, immigrants, or refugees making a new home in another country. Complicity in particular deals with “technical trainees” in Japan, a program for allowing foreigners to receive “training” while working in specific fields. The program has been criticized (and exploited) as a poorly veiled form of cheap labor. Rather than focus on the abuses which begins the story, the independent China-Japan …

Eye-On-Yeah

Yeah

Ako, a resident of a housing complex, appears to have some sort of personal problem. As a consequence, she is unable to find her own apartment and has no choice but to keep wandering about the housing complex grounds. Sometimes, she begins speaking with inanimate objects as if they were people–a tree here, a bicycle there, but never people. What exactly is her problem, and where does she intend to go? Suzuki, currently residing in the Ibaraki Prefecture capital of Mito, got together with actress Yanagi Elisa (Capturing Dad, Rolling) and decided to shoot something together in Mito. With the determined support of staff members from his previous movie Ow and newly made acquaintances in Mito, Suzuki was able to shoot this distinctive work which once again looks to be demonstrating Suzuki’s penchant for eccentricity combined with satirical wit as in Ow. This not only makes for fascinating viewing, but simultaneously provides ample food for thought. YEAH world premiered at the International Film Festival Rotterdam in 2018 where programmers commented: “In this politically charged setting, …

Eye-On_Ow

Ow

Suzuki Yohei’s Ow has been one of those movies that seemed to have slipped through the cracks, or perhaps been a bit ahead of its time. After getting made as a 9th CO2 grant movie, it was completed in 2014. Only now, three years later, will Suzuki’s efforts finally see a domestic release. This might be a good time, then, to revisit this unique entry in Japanese indie films in commeration of its July opening in Shibuya. Described as an indie “whatsit” (as opposed to a “whodunnit”), or a blackly comic episode of ‘The Twilight Zone’, Suzuki’s movie defies easy categorization. In fact, in their review of Ow, Slant Film used Spielberg and Jarmusch in the same sentence to praise Suzuki’s deft direction as possessing a “Spielbergian flair for capturing how the comforts and discomforts of cohabitation seem to nest within one another, as well as a Jarmuschian taste for mining social alienation for the occasional stray deadpan punchline.” (Chuck Bowen) Having his eyes opened to cinema by the genre movies of David Cronenberg and …