- Sono otoko, kyôbô ni tsuki (Violent Cop, Takeshi Kitano, Japan, 1989)
- Kawaita hana (Pale Flower, Masahiro Shinoda, Japan, 1964)
- My Year Without Sex (Sarah Watt, Australia, 2009)
What a blast this film is, and what a blast the original Japanese audiences must have had. Here is this guy - Kitano - known throughout the land as a comedian, and he comes out with brutally violent stuff that we all now know him for. Quite honestly, I see his films as comedies, of the darkest, blackest variety. Sure, they're violent, but there's an understated irony barely below the surface. I'm not big on violence in cinema, specifically gratuitous violence, but I can't get upset with the violence of Kitano. I find myself aghast and laughing in equal measure and I see it as very artful.
The current Melbourne Cinémathèque season is described as Japanese Noir, and noir this film surely is. I'm certainly no expert on the subject of either Japanese or Noir, but I enjoyed this. That's all.
My Year Without Sex
I know that Sarah Watts' previous film, Looking Both Ways, was well-received, but it left me unimpressed. I liked some elements, such as the animation, but overall it all seemed a bit flat. I probably wouldn't have bothered with My Year Without Sex but for Jake Wilson's glowing review, in which he describes the film as "the most accomplished Australian film so far this year". While some have been unimpressed by the film, I find Jake often has insights that others miss.
I agree that the latest film is an improvement and that Looking Both Ways tended to be twee. In My Year Without Sex, the story and acting are more believable, the film is less gimmicky and it conveys some keen social observations. Somehow, though, it still feels a little flat. It depicts modern urban life as many experience it, but doesn't seem to rise above the mundanity of it all.
Maybe that undersells the qualities of the film - it's certainly an enjoyable film. It's just that I sense that Watts has a keen intellect and has insights she wants to share, but doesn't get the punch in her film that she aims for. While I think the JW review makes valid points, the film clearly didn't impress me like it did him.