Friday, February 13, 2015

地獄でなぜ悪い (Why Don't You Play in Hell?) (2013)

Director: Shion Sono
Writer:    Shion Sono
Cast:       Jun Kunimura, Fumi Nikaido, Shinichi Tsutsumi
Language: Japanese

A renegade film crew become embroiled with a a Yakuza clan feud and end up staging fight scenes between them so that they could film it on 35 mm and make a masterpiece. Their production crew is called 'The Fuck Bombers'.

It is bonkers!!! Not normal kind of bonkers but the kind that only Japanese could have done. You can totally understand why Rajnikant has some Japanese following who come over to India regularly to catch his premiers. Shion Sono is giving not so subtle nods to Quentin Tarantino's 'Kill Bill and that is kind of funny since the latter is the king of homages. It is evident from the opening credits itself which uses a reworked Misirlou theme which was used in Pulp Fiction. Also the 'Japanese Bruce Lee' in it wears bride's yellow outfit and like real men, Yakuza uses swords and fight in kimonos. Tarantino's love for 35 mm film is also something that Sono plays up but the whole Tarantino thing is not overbearing in the film. It is very much a film like no other. The first half of it is kind of dragging but the second half makes up for it when the film making in it begins. It is a celebration of no-holds-barred approach to film making summed up by the machine gun wielding cameramen. All said and done it is a very difficult film to describe and you have to watch it for yourself and trailer might give you an idea.

I have seen half of Shion Sono's 'Love Exposure' and couldn't complete it because the subtitles stopped working. This one is more accessible than Love Actually and like that also there is some Japanese subtext to the whole thing. Yakuza gangs there are quite famous for supporting film making and the highly prolific Takashi Miike is someone who uses that avenue of funding. This is also something that is quite common in India with the film business being a good way to launder money. The film begins with a toothpaste ad featuring a Yakuza kingpin's child daughter and it is seen to be enjoyed by all and sundry. It kind of makes us squirmy because we have this idea of Japanese being very lax on child pornography. Sono seems to be playing on this in the same way he celebrates up-skirt shooting industry of Japan in 'Love Exposure'. 

Overall it is a great watch but is not suitable for everyone. Watch it if you are the kind that like to embrace some weird shit or you are a fan of Miike who is also someone that makes something similar in a very different way.

Rating: 4/5