Kono sora no hana / コの空の花
Director Nobuhiko Ohbayashi came to the attention of much of the world with the revival of his 1973 opus, House. A combination of camp genre stereotypes and full on eye candy, House remains an enchanting period piece. Kono sora no hana works similar tropes. Ohbayashi has a stunning gift for vibrant visual compositions and with a primitivist approach to CGI, makes the already tired filmmakers’ crutch interesting. However, the seriousness of the endeavor falls under the burden of cliché, failing even in the so-bad-it’s-good arena. The ostensible message of the film is an antiwar screed. Working a series of traditionally avant-garde conventions the town of Nagaoka is chronicled via a mess of historical, fictional and genuinely nutty set pieces. Like a travelogue of recent history, Kono sora no hana is chock full of obscure info, myriad plot threads and unconsidered ideas about the Japanese “character”. Over its two and half hours plus there’s plenty to ruminate on, little worth digesting. However, the very talented unicyclists that provide a major plot thread make for some amusement.
Originally published in EL Magazine, June 2012