Thursday, April 28, 2005

Extreme? Why yes, it is.

So there I was, contemplating a new direction in movie entertainment. I had felt like branching out and the usual fare of 1950’s, childhood “Chiller Theater”, take me home country roads B-movies just weren’t doing it for me. I needed a break. I needed something new. Hey, what’s this I’m hearing about “Extreme Japanese Video”? I had never heard of anything like that before. The video site said “unusual”, “experimental”, “not for everyone”. Hey I’m not everyone. I’ve seen just about everything this world has to offer in my oft-times jaded, but never dull life. Forget that – I’m from New York City, dammit! Netflix is bound to have the one I just read about. Hey, it does! OK, sign me up.

The DVD arrived in 3 days. I came home from work about midnight. Poured myself some adult refreshment. Made myself some popcorn, inserted the DVD into my computer (using headphones, of course – I didn’t want to wake the family) and fired up WinDVD. I sat back and passed the bowl of popcorn to my viewing partner on the right. Unfortunately, it turned out that my viewing partner happened to be Mephisto.

Now showing – “Visitor Q”.

It’s an interesting commentary on our society that we keep pushing the boundaries of what is acceptable behavior. Obviously, when one considers that a relatively tame film such as Todd Browning’s “Freaks” could actually have been banned from viewing altogether for many years, we know that we have made several quantum leaps on our tolerance meters. Is there a limit to what should be filmed and is there a relationship between skillfully crafted films and a cut-off point where the costs outweigh the gains? Yes, of course. In my opinion, that cut-off point lies well within “Visitor Q”. The insidious thing about a film like this is that an argument could very well be made for the brilliance of it’s technique and the guts of it’s director, Takashi Miike for pushing the limits of cultural mores in order to realize his vision. You betcha.

The story, in a nutshell revolves around a TV show reporter who’s career has taken a nose-dive. In his panicky endeavor to create a documentary depicting violence and sex among the current Japanese youth, he begins to use his dysfunctional family as material for his project. Enter Visitor Q. Here we have a character that says and does very little. However, his actions have a profound effect upon the direction and focus of each of the four family members. The family, consisting of the father, mother, son and daughter each have some serious issues that break just about every Japanese (and non-Japanese) taboo regarding incest, drug use, violence and compulsion. This is not for the squeamish.

The most bizarre aspect of “Visitor Q” is how it makes a technically skilled attempt to turn the horrendous into twisted humor. The greatest horror that the movie evinces is the soiled feeling many are bound to experience when they finally have a chance to contemplate exactly what they may have momentarily found amusing. Afterwards, I had to watch 3 showings of “The Neanderthal Man” (1953) before I felt like I was back to a healthy state of mind. And that’s saying something.

Next up: "RIKI-OH The Story of Ricky"


At 1:29 AM, Anonymous Mr. Blue said...

Was this live action or anime.

At 11:10 AM, Blogger BeckoningChasm said...

Takahashi Mike does live-action stuff, as I recall.

I don't think it would be as shocking if it were anime. The level of reality is at a big remove.

Er, not that I'm trying to take over this blog or anything like that...

At 5:13 PM, Blogger Henry Brennan said...

It was most definitely live action. That's what made it even more disturbing. Seriously, though, I can't even begin to go into the depravity depicted - and I have pretty thick skin. This wasn't porno related stuff, by the way, it was a collection of images and scenarios designed to shock while making a weird attempt at dark humor.


Post a Comment

<< Home