Three Points / スリー★ポイント
Yamamoto Masashi has been lurking at the edge of the Japanese film industry for the last 25 years creating a fascinating, if uneven, oeuvre built around near-documentary improvisations by his preferred casts of non-actors, most of whom exist on the edges of Japanese society. Three Points encompasses three different approaches in three locations. The film opens in Kyoto amongst a semi-bohemian cohort of down-and-out rappers. The rough and tumble crew of real-life Kyoto OGs exist in a dark, violent Kyoto demi-monde. Intercut with their fictional story is documentary footage of life in Okinawa. Hunting for crabs, hanging out and interviews with American GIs throw a very personal look at Okinawans just getting by. The cutaways between the Kyoto and Okinawan footage is smartly done, creating a palpably exciting frisson between documentary and fiction and the clash of traditional and US culture. Unfortunately a rather blasé fiction attempting to graft Polanski and Arnofsky takes over the screen for the last third of the film sucking the life from the wonderful first two sections of the film.
Originally published in EL Magazine, May 2011.