a page of madness

film writing by nicholas vroman

Keibetsu / 軽蔑

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Part homage to Godard – Keibetsu means Contempt in Japanese – and part pinku melodrama, Ryuichi Hiroki’s heroic mashup is an interesting attempt, but ultimately founders as a satisfying whole. Kengo Kora, sporting one of the strangest hairstyles of his career, plays Kazu, son of a prominent provincial family who gets in over his head with gambling and with Machiko (Anne Suzuki), a pole-dancing hottie. He splits Tokyo and returns to his home town with Machiko in tow, jumping into a “normal” life, but things catch up with him, ultimately leading to his very long death scene, stumbling down a deserted shotengai parodying of the original parody of a death scene that Belmondo did at the end of Breathless.  Horoki captures a sort of stylish new-wavy energy in all the proceedings, but tends to overcrowd the movie with a mawkish plot that takes all the cool meta-cinematic signifiers and turns them into gravy. One expects better from the maker of such classics as Vibrator, but one can’t fault him for taking chances. Maybe next time…

Originally published in EL Magazine, June 2011

Written by Nicholas Vroman

May 13, 2011 at 2:11 am

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