I remember watching this film for the first time around five years ago and just being stunned at how monumentally unfunny it was after the Ghostbusters sketch. It’s undisciplined and tries to do too much, the humour hasn’t dated well and there’s little that’s funny to begin with. But then maybe that’s the point and there’s a lot more going on than I realised:
In an interview Kitano actually draws parallels to Kurosawa, who, in the hindsight of Kitano, should have made a total bullshit film, instead of attempting suicide after “Dodes Kaden”. To Kitano, “‘Getting Any?’ is a beautiful disastrous failure and “suicide”.
Whatever, of you’re a completionist or adventurous this is definitely for you. The material covers so much since it’s a send-up of the Japanese film industry and it certainly is memorable.Perhaps, after living in Japan, I might find more elements of this funny. It certainly has a good cast with Kitano leading familiar actors like Yurei Yanagi and Susumu Terajima astray and both Dankan and Ren Osugi appeared in the Kiyoshi Kurosawa movie Eyes of the Spider!
Third Window Films will add Shinya Tsukamoto’s last film, Fires on the Plain to their catalogue of titles further making their releases the definitive editions! Fires on the Plain is an astonishing war film because of its relentlessly dwells on death and destruction and shows the pointlessness of war and the way it dehumanises people through a series of gruelling actions (gory battle scenes, murder, suicide, and worse) broken up by suspenseful periods of non-action in the beautiful jungle environs of the Philippines.
The film is based on a semi-autobiographical novel by Shohei Ooka and Kon Ichikawa’s seminal 1959 war film and for director Shinya Tsukamoto it was a passion project he spent ten years bringing to life. It may be a war film but it fits in perfectly with his oeuvre since he has made films full of body-horror and he loves to explore the psychologically twisted aspects of human nature. Just watch his hyper-violent horror films like Tetsuo: The Iron Man (1989) and dark dramas like Vital (2003) and A Snake of June (2003) and lets not forget Ichi the Killer and Nightmare Detective. Despite the fearsome reputation of the films… well…
I met Shinya Tsukamoto before this movie was screened and he was remarkably laid back. I didn’t get the chance to interview him but I did get my picture taken with him and an autograph which lies safely in a DVD case… I have reviewed a lot of his films and you can see which ones be looking at my profile of the director. I pulled this information from my review of the film and information from Third Window Films. I hope this helps!
The film Fires on the Plain takes place during the closing stages of the war. The Americans are invading Leyte Island in the Philippines and are hot on the heels of demoralised soldiers of the Japanese army, all of whom are looking to evacuate from the island. We see their increasingly desperate struggle from the perspective of an army conscript named Tamura (Shinya Tsukamoto) who is sick with tuberculosis.
He is forced into the field with a grenade by a commander who cannot waste resources on keeping a dying man alive and suggests Tamura blows himself up. Tamura doesn’t want to give up so easily and clings to life. He wanders around the jungle and bounces between broken platoons and brutal battles as everybody heads to the port at Palompon to be evacuated to Cebu but it is a journey that will lead him down a dark path where he will have to hold on to his humanity as he encounters betrayal, extreme violence, and worse…
Japan / 2015 / 87 Mins / In Japanese with English subtitles / HD / Colour
Out as a DUAL FORMAT DVD & BLURAY September 11th, 2017
Special Features: Dual format DVD & BLURAY
1 hour extensive making of
Audio commentary by Tom Mes, author of “Iron Man: The Cinema of Shinya Tsukamoto”
First 1000 copies come with LIMITED EDITION slipcase illustrated by Mathieu Bablet
The next home movie release from Third Window Films Destruction Babies,. It was released last year in Japanand cropped up in UK cinemas after it was secured a place on the programme at this year’s Japan Foundation Touring Film Programme. I haven’t seen this one but fellow movie bloggers have. Here’s a snippet of a review from Windows on Worlds, a site run by a writer named Hayley who knows a lot about Japanese cinema:
“Oblique, ambiguous, and soaked in blood, Destruction Babies is a rebel yell for a forlorn hope, as raw as it is disturbing.”
Lowlife Love has been reported on here multiple times. I tracked it from its inception as a Kickstarter Project (which I backed) and then I wrote about it four times when it featured at a number of prestigious film festivals and got it’s theatrical release in Japan. It has been a long road and I got the chance to watch it at the Tollywood Cinema in Shinjuku after being invited by the film’s producer, the ever-cool Adam Torel. The film was an interesting ride to say the least. I was expecting a comedy but it is dark, a rather grimy expose of some of the horrible things that go on in the world of cinema in Japan. Despite having seen the director Eiji Uchida’s previous film, Greatful Dead, I was taken aback by this. It’s a must-see for anyone who wants a dose of reality. Thankfully it has a veneer of comedy and some great performances to keep it from being unbearable.
I am still in Tokyo and still writing about films and still getting press releases so here’s the information for its UK release on Blu-Ray and DVD.
Here’s the press release:
The first 100% Third Window Films production!
Third Window films team up with GREATFUL DEAD director Eiji Uchida to produce a darkly comic satire of Japan’s no-budget film industry!
Dual format bluray & dvd set out November 21st
Featuring a Making Of, Cast interviews, Deleted Scenes, Alternate ending, Music video, Theatrical Trailer
“A nasty peek at the underbelly of the Japanese independent film scene.” – Screen Anarchy “Lowlife Love is a fantastic piece of Japanese indie cinema, and a bold offering from the talented and creative Eiji Uchida.” – Eastern Kicks
“Presents uncomfortable truths in sharp, funny ways.” – The Japan Times
Third Window Films will release Takeshi Kitano’s brilliant coming-of-age drama Kids Return (1996) at the end of October. This is the latest film to be released on Blu-ray by Third Window Films thanks to Office Kitano updating their titles with 2K masters.
Regular readers will know that I have reviewed Hana-biandKikujiroand Dolls,but I missed the last release,A Scene at the Sea. This is the second film he directed but does not star in after A Scene at the Sea (1991) and much like that one, it is one of his best as it charts the relationship between two friends at high school who face tough choices in life. It has an excellent story and a fantastic soundtrack by Joe Hisaishi. Here’s a track.
Third Window Films are releasing a series of films by Takeshi Kitano on Blu-ray since Office Kitano are updating their titles with 2K masters. Regular readers will know that I have reviewed Hana-biandKikujiroand Dolls, and the latest release is A Scene at the Seawhich comes out on September 12th.
I saw this one for the first time around five or six years ago and was bowled over by it. The story is simple but profound as it looks at the love and problems of a unique set of characters, especially the two leads. It has some of that comedy and tragedy present in all of Kitano’s films minus the director himself who usually takes a star role. This one features another great score by Joe Hisaishi.
Third Window Films are releasing a series of films by Takeshi Kitano on Blu-ray as Office Kitano updates the titles with 2K masters. Regular readers will know that I have reviewed Hana-biand Kikujiro and next Monday I hope to review the latest film to get a release in the series, Dolls.
I was in high school when this was released and I must admit to being turned off by the obvious artiness of it, which isn’t to say that it’s bad so much as my taste ran more to his more violent gangster films. When I was in university I came to love his more sedate films like A Scene at the Sea and Kids Return. Like those two films, Dolls doesn’t feature Kitano acting on screen and it features a score by Joe Hisaishi (his last collaboration with Kitano). I suppose now is a great time to see how far my views have changed since it’s getting a release on March 14th!