Thursday, February 22, 2007

retribution (kiyoshi kurosawa, 2006)

KK's new film prostitutes wholesale chunks of his three strongest features prior to this one: Cure (God Told Me To...Kill!), Pulse (the world is emptying itself out; ghosts are driven to insanity via an insurmountable loneliness), and Charisma (Koji Yakusho becomes the "messiah cop"). I did not mind this very much, because I have always felt that he's had bigger fish to fry than simple shock effects, even in a film like this, where the script seems to have been hastily prepared (he is his own writer) and the direction - while exceptional - doesn't go far in unmuddying the waters. The film is an embarrassment of riches for fans of the director's sense of architecture, boxes, unfinished surfaces and unnervingly "off" angles, sense of displacement.

There is a shot of the ghost creeping towards Yakusho. She creeps and creeps. She is not CGI'd in this shot. The two actors share the frame. There is no gauze over the lens. She creeps toward him like Snidely Whiplash would creep towards somebody. He cowers/she creeps. They resemble rehearsal partners - you expect someone to say "and...scene" at a certain point. I love this shot enormously.

A key moment suggests KK read Thomas Ligotti's 1989 short story "Dream of a Mannikin."

The bones call to mind Suzuki's Zigeunerweisen. I feel that KK pays homage to the "flawed" Sarasate record in that film several times: the sound reels in Seance (where a dead voice seems to have tainted their recordings), the film clips in Cure and Loft (in which an artwork/artifact from circa the 1920s hints at something far older).

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