Friday, March 16, 2007

City of Lost Souls

Takeshi Miike needs little introduction may be a true statement for longtime readers of my blogs, but, as I am discovering, many people do not know him past the haunting "Audition"...
Movie nights have met with mixed success thanks to a freeform mood based schedule of events. This is a shame, as the collection will bear more fruit with a little prior planning. Rather than catch the one we missed out here in the sticks I can program intros to directors and genres.
To this end I screened "City of Lost Souls" a 2000 film that followed "Audition".
City of Lost Souls has a cast that includes Brazilians, Chinese, Japanese and Russians. This is an action comedy that hits the ground running. This haste is calculated, as are cool set pieces all through the film. As an example, when Lucia is drinking herself stupid in the other room half the frame is taken up by a doorway..and her face is framed in a mirror on the other side of the doorway.
This gangsta love story features both the Yakuza and a Triad gang. Conflicts resolved over ping pong and cockfighting, but who will get the girl? The girl is Michelle Reis, remembered (dreamingly) from that Won Kar Wei film "Fallen Angels". She is the femme fatale here also, love interest and flamethrower all rolled into one pretty sweet package.
Miike has many skills, fetishes and ideas, all of which are on display here. Every corner of the film has been massaged, from blocking to music to camera movement. The cast is terrific, breathing life into would could have been just another dwarf brushing his teeth with cocaine scene..or a duel to the feathered death in bullettime.
This is an accessible, ADD edited film that is a terrific introduction to the Miike canon.

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