Within the throes of torture and insanity: Extreme Asian Cinema part 3

October 15, 2006

Sorry it took so long to update. The last 2 weeks were filled with exams, and I still have more to come so bear with me. Continuing with Extreme Asian Cinema, I’m taking a look at two different flicks. The unifying theme: torture. While one movie definitely falls into the “horror” category, I would say the other is less easily categorized. Check it out.

Save the Green Planet! (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0354668/)

save the green planet

So I’m not sure what to say about this flick. In my own words I’d call it, “unforgettably messed up.” Not easily categorized, the movie switches between genres left and right (sci-fi, comedy, horror, suspense). In the end, I’m uncertain how I feel throughout the movie. The premise of the story goes as follows: One crazy guy thinks that the CEO of a successful chemical company is actually an alien leader. He kidnaps and tortures the so-called alien while a suspicious cop investigates. The title of the film, though evocative of a humanitarian treehugging feeling, is in actuality in reference to the crazy guy’s attempt save the planet from the aliens.

The flick is an interesting experience to say the least. While it didn’t quite tickle my fancy, it was pretty engaging the entire way through. Be prepared for a lot of ridiculous twists and tangents that somehow lead to whole movie. I wouldn’t call this flick an example of perfectly cohesive filmmaking, but there seems to be some method to the madness. Check it out if you want to try something a bit different.

Audition (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0235198/)

audition

“This wire can cut through meat and bone easily.” – Asami Yamazaki

Takashi Miike is a prominent name in the Japanese extreme cinema underworld, and his film “Audition” is well known along with “Ichi the Killer” are some of the best known (or the one’s that I’ve been hearing most about.) I decided to check out “Audition,” and again, I’d say it was an experience. The movie is straight up horror, but instead of cheap thrills that make you jump, “Audition” slowly builds up to a climax that makes you cringe. The film follows Shigeharu Aoyama, a widower, who decides it is time to meet a new woman. His friend offers to hold a fake audition to screen various actresses, and Shigeharu can meet a new wife. A great idea in theory almost works in execution except for the fact that the girl Shigeharu chooses is Asami Yamazaki, a completely crazy sadist-bitch.

Looks can be deceiving in this flick, and you know that Asami isn’t quite right as you watch the film. You hope that Shigeharu drops her for another, but he decides to pursue this mysterious not-so-innocent girl. As I said before, the movie works at a slow pace building toward the insane climax à la “Alien.” In contrast though, Ridley Scott is a little more conservative with the blood and guts as “Audition” paints on the gore quite liberally. Miike brings the hurt, and there are some seriously disturbing images in this film.  Don’t see this film if you can’t handle the bloodletting in traditional slashers – this movie goes above and beyond with the sadistic violence.

While I can usually stomach violence and gore decently well, “Audition” definitely made me cringe in horror.  There’s something about a quiet girl sticking long needles into someone’s face I find a bit disturbing…

Both flicks: 2.5 disemboweled limbs out of a pile of 5

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