Disregarded People / Sutegataki Hitobito / 捨てがたき人々
Hideo Sakai’s execrable feature, Disregarded People, is ostensibly a hard-hitting look at the baser instincts and truths of humankind. Bruno Dumont he ain’t. Sakai reinforces and perpetuates the dumb macho ideas and misogyny that are rampant in the male-dominated Japanese film industry. In this tale, Yuusuke Mamiana (Nao Omori) returns to his old island hometown for some vaguely existential reasons. He meets a woman that he attempts to rape, apologizes, and then really does rape her. Like any normal woman, she decides to live with him and bear his child. Oh, and a little later in he rapes a bar owner, who of course, has no problem in having him continue being a customer. Good thing there are no cops on this island! Even taken as a broader parable about the human condition, Disregarded People is barely a joke. And a not very funny one at that. The film opens – and closes – with the distraught Yuusuke moaning, “Why was I ever born? Why am I even here?” I’m still trying to find the punch line.
Originally published in EL Magazine, April 2014.