The Black Horn / Hikari no onshoku / 光の音色
Interspersing a live in-studio performance by post-grunge rock band, the Black Horn and an allegorical tale of an old Russian man carrying his dead wife’s corpse through a war torn land to get that one last glimpse of the sea, director Kazuyoshi Kumakiri’s baffling conceit pretty much fails. First, the rock band, though technically proficient, runs through a set of phony “heartfelt” power ballads that will bore none but the most solid fans. I know they’ve got some sort of cache in the film community here, but they’re completely derivative of a lesser style that went out (as it rose in popularity) about the time it was born in the 1990s. The story of the old man and his wife looks like something that also went out somewhere around the late 50s when Soviet (and the Soviet block) cinema’s existential metaphorical stories were kind of cool – in some hindsight. Kumakari’s a strong visual storyteller. The Russian section is done without dialogue. It comes off as meaningless filler for the documentation of a lame rock band.
Originally published in EL Magazine, November 2014.