A and A's Movie A Day

Watching movies until we run out.

Movie 568 – The Taste of Tea

The Taste of Tea – September 19th, 2011

Several months back when we hosted a member of Loading Ready Run before PAX East, we got to talking about movies with her. Now, this is not unusual for us. Even before this project we enjoyed talking about movies. We like movies. That’s why we own over 600. We explained the project to her and she gave us a couple of suggestions to add to the list. This was one. And I forget her precise description of it, but I know she said it was bizarre and slow. And that’s pretty spot on. Bizarre and slow. But also sweet and thoughtful at the same time. Long, too. So we decided to put it in for a night when we had time, but not a whole lot of energy. We were up to reading subtitles but not up to following a complex plot. This seemed perfect.

And oh, it was perfect indeed. I need to remember to thank Kathleen if she attends next PAX East. It’s a very dreamy movie, taking place over the course of several weeks in the life of a family living in the countryside in Japan. There’s no huge overarching plot that sweeps up the entire family. No real action or massive drama. Instead there are a number of smaller dramas, little stories in the lives of the family members in the time span of the movie. And for the most part their stories don’t really connect directly with each other. They touch on each other, but it’s more that it’s the story of a family living together and interacting. So when young Sachiko becomes convinced she has to complete a back flip over a bar in a playground, her grandfather sees and it impacts his own actions. But the back flip isn’t his story. When Sachiko’s father, Nobuo, plays Go with his son it’s not because he’s trying to help his son find something in common with the girl he likes, it’s just that father and son play Go together. And that’s how the movie goes, with each story involving the other, but not intentionally.

There are six members in the family, five of whom are living together in the house in the country when the movie begins. There’s Sachiko; her parents, father Nobuo and mother Yoshiko; her older brother, Hajime; her grandfather, Akira; and finally her uncle, Ayano. Uncle Ayano is only visiting, there to take a break after some undisclosed difficult times in Tokyo. And off in the city is another uncle, Ikki, who draws manga and produces what is likely the oddest thing in the movie: The Mountain Song. But we’ll come back to that. I promise. Uncle Ikki is very much a side note to the rest of the family. His story involves Uncle Ayano and Grandfather Akira, but none of it takes place at the family home and once his music video is done he’s not really touched on again. The focus is definitely on the family home and the people who live there or have lived there.

We begin with Hajime watching the girl he had a crush on leave by train. Right from the outset the movie makes it clear that it’s veering towards the magical realism side of things by showing the train exit from Hajime’s forehead. Now, I’m fully willing to accept that many of the magical realism type things that are shown on the screen here are the visual representations of the imaginations and thought processes of the characters. I think that’s probably a good way to interpret them. But the fact remains that there’s little division between imagination and reality in this movie. We don’t see every single bit of thought in the characters’ heads and we don’t even see any from some characters. But there are things we do see, such as the train and the giant version of Sachiko that appears (but only to her) from time to time. It’s not fantasy, but it’s not all reality either.

Hajime’s trouble with girls is his story. He finds it hard to talk to girls and is scared of relationships. But his Go playing ends up being they key, getting the attention of a couple of older students at school who invite him to join the Go club, which a new girl whom he’s been interested in but too intimidated to talk to has also joined. They play together, they talk, he gives her his umbrella and things seem to be looking up. On the other side of things, Sachiko has decided that to get rid of the giant phantom Sachiko who’s following her around she needs to complete a backflip over a horizontal bar. This is because of a story Uncle Ayano told her about how when he was a boy a phantom Yakuza followed him around until he did a backflip. Meanwhile, Yoshiko is busily working on a hand-drawn animation project with the aid of Grandfather Akira and Nobuo is spending his time going back and forth between his hypnotherapist job in the city and his private life at home. Elsewhere in the countryside a group of what seem to be gangsters are running around and a couple of cosplaying anime fans are working on a photo shoot. And yes, it all does work together. It’s all woven in with little scenes between the various characters. Hajime and Nobuo see the guys in costume doing a photo shook on the train home, then Sachiko asks for their help when she finds one of the gangsters buried in the mud near where she’s practicing her backflip. And Uncle Ayano hits one of the gangsters in the head with a rock – totally by accident.

If I had to pick one storyline in here as my favorite, it would be Ayano’s. I don’t recall it ever being explained exactly what happened in Tokyo that led to him needing to take some time off in the country. It just happened. He hangs out with his niece and nephew and wanders around town, watching people, talking to an old girlfriend, then befriending a dancer who’s practicing at a camp site near the river. He observes a lot, and tells stories. And eventually he goes back to work as a sound engineer for his brother-in-law Ikki’s “birthday song.” His reaction is pretty much precisely what I think everyone’s reaction is: “Listen to it long enough and your brain will melt.” Don’t believe me? Take a look: Oh, My Mountain. Let me make it clear, I love that song and the video. The guy with the gray hair is the grandfather, and he is a marvelous part of the movie. Easily my second favorite character after Ayano. He also observes everything, but injects bizarre comments into his observations. Things like asking why his granddaughter is a triangle. Apparently most of his lines come from things the director said while drunk. Of course.

It all sounds like such a busy movie, with music videos being made and anime showings and the Yakuza fighting in town and Hajime’s girl troubles and Sachiko’s phantom troubles and everything else, but it comes across as a slow and peaceful, meandering through the stories as they naturally flow into each other. Even the ending, which is sad in its way, feels like a natural part of where the movie is going. I suppose the movie could be shorter, but shortening any of the scenes in it feels like it would force the movie to sacrifice much of its tone and mood. And that would really be a pity, because the tone and mood are much of why it works as well as it does. It’s certainly on my short list of favorites now and I don’t think I’d change a thing about it.

September 19, 2011 Posted by | daily reviews | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Movie 366 – Repo Man

Repo Man – March 1st, 2011

I know I mentioned it yesterday, but I still find it weird to think that we’ve been at this for a year. And what’s really great about it is that I’ve seen so many movies that I’ve always meant to see and never gotten around to. And not just stuff that we already had lying around the apartment. I mean, last night’s movie? Yes, when it came out we meant to see it. When it came out on DVD we meant to see it. We bought it and never put it in. That was the original purpose of this project, to justify owning the movies we own. And then we started buying more and collecting other movies I’d meant to see but which we didn’t own yet. Like this one. A cult classic I must have heard references to a million times and never watched myself.

Now, I’d always been told that this was a weird movie, and make no mistake, it is. It’s about a cadre of repo men, a couple of car thieves, some punks and a van full of quasi-governmental UFO chasers trying to track down a Chevy Malibu that might have aliens in the trunk. Weird is a rather inadequate word for all that. And I think part of the movie’s charm is that it could have been some slick and utterly cheesy sci-fi flick, but it’s not. It’s awkward and gritty and idiosyncratic in just the right combination. There’s something about the tone of it, with the off-hand strangeness of the world it’s set in and the characters who inhabit it, that reminds me of Buckaroo Banzai. It’s all just so matter-of-fact and yet off-kilter. I like that.

The movie follows Otto, a punk kid turned repo man. Otto starts out kind of aimless and really, despite the repo gig he remains aimless. He doesn’t seem to really enjoy the work. He gets shot at, beat up, chased. He doesn’t seem to like most of his coworkers who are, admittedly, a bunch of jerks much of the time. And his old friends are running around town holding up liquor stores and stealing drugs. His parents are stoned all the time and obsessed with some televangelist. Why should he care about anything? Why would he? And really, the same could be said about most of the people in this movie. They all seem to be looking for something to give a damn about, except Leila, a girl Otto meets while he’s driving a car back to the lot. Leila cares about aliens.

The movie bounces back and forth between the various groups involved. The Chevy Malibu changes hands several times, starting with a mysterious man wearing a pair of glasses with one blacked out frame, then the Rodriguez brothers grab it, then the punks grab it from them, then the guy gets it back from the punks, then Otto manages to get behind the wheel, then his coworker, Bud, nabs it. It goes all over, and something is very strange about that car. It’s overheated inside, and the trunk? Well. You don’t want to look in the trunk (in a similar way that you might not want to look inside Rincewind’s Luggage). The UFO chasers show up in the background over and over. Men in white hazmat suits carry off bodies. The punks are all over the place. There’s always something in the background. Someone always shows up from earlier in the movie. It’s oddly insular in the way that small towns are.

The feel of the movie is more than a little surreal, with the generic food and drink everywhere (beer just labeled Beer and the like, including a tin of Food – Beef Flavored) and all of Otto’s beer-named coworkers (Miller, Bud, Lite). It’s like everything’s just off from the center. A little out of focus. A little self-conscious about itself. So even though it’s bouncing around from faction to faction and all, it never quite loses sight of being a movie about a Chevy Malibu and aliens. You can’t make a serious movie about that. It has to have some level of awareness about itself and this movie hits that note just perfectly. It hits every note. Like a John Cage piece. Odd and not played on the instruments you expect and probably unsettling and a little gimmicky but fun all the same.

March 1, 2011 Posted by | daily reviews | , , , | Leave a comment

Repo Man

March 1, 2011

Repo Man

I really wanted to watch this movie right after we reviewed Southland Tales, but at the time we didn’t own it. I had seen Repo Man many years ago – some time in the eighties – and it made an impression on me. In particular the iconic crazy ending sequence stuck in my mind and Southland Tales reminded me of it in a lot of ways.

I freely admit that I missed the entire punk scene in the eighties. I knew only the kind of distilled cliche of punk that made it to the mainstream media. Like the annoying guy on the bus in Star Trek IV that Spock does the nerve pinch on. I get the feeling that this movie is a lot closer to the real world of punk, even though it spends most of its time poking fun at the stereotypes. But the whole attitude of the movie, which is kind of a giant raised middle finger to “the man” and the notion of normality, has that rebel air to it. There’s also a kind of edgy zero budget guerrilla film feel to the movie.

It’s a movie about people living on the fringes of society. Our anti-hero “Otto” is a slacker who at the start of the movie gives up on his menial stock-boy job and doesn’t really have any plan for his life. He encounters a repo-man named Bud who believes in a code and has a work ethic, but is using every con and trick he knows to steal cars from deadbeats who are behind on their payments. Bud takes Otto under his wing and tries to show him how to make it in the edgy, fast paced, dangerous world of the professional car repossession business.

All that is fairly normal. But there’s something else going on in this movie. For one thing the world Otto inhabits is one of odd co-incidences. There are running gags like the trio of punks (led by a friend and ex-girlfriend of Otto’s) who rob every convenience store Otto goes in to. There’s Otto’s nerdy friend Kevin who seems to show up in all the oddest places. There’s the fact that all the groceries and consumer products in this world are generic items with white labels and bold blue print. Miller, the mechanic at the lot where Bud and all his repo buddies work, seems well aware of just how strange the world they live in is. He has it all figured out.

Of course the coolest, and strangest, thing in this movie is contained in the trunk of a ‘64 Chevy Malibu that everybody wants to get their hands on. There’s a group of UFO freaks that wants it. There’s a shady MiB group with geiger counters, hazmat suits and a sinister cyborg leader. And there’s a $20,000 bounty on the car so naturally every repo man in LA wants it was well.

The whole charm of this movie is that it’s so incoherent. It is far more lucid than Southland Tales of course (though I still maintain that Southland Tales was in part inspired by this film) but it revels in its own sense of farce. There’s a good deal of wry comedy to the film, but it’s not necessarily played for laughs. Instead it tries to be funny by messing with your head, which is a much cooler way to do it. There are a lot of subtle gags that you won’t necessarily catch on the first viewing, which is cool as well because when your watching this movie you don’t necessarily think of it as subtle.

I miss the drugged out head-trip sci-fi of the eighties. This movie fits right in with Videodrome and The Naked Lunch. Just with a much smaller budget. It’s an edgy, weird micro genre that I don’t think exists any more. That’s kind of too bad.

March 1, 2011 Posted by | daily reviews | , , , | Leave a comment

Movie 131 – Blue Velvet

Blue Velvet – July 9th, 2010

I am on a mission. As I mentioned last night, and at the outset of this project, I really would like to watch all the stuff I’ve got that I’ve never seen. Sure, there are titles I’m not looking forward to, but mostly there are just a lot of DVDs I’ve never put in. If I look at our little spreadsheet and calculate the percentage of movies I’ve seen out of what we own, it’s at around 62%. That’s up a good bit from when we started, but it’s not high enough! So I’m aiming to up my new view count. And this bit of David Lynch weirdness is tonight’s effort.

So here’s another thing: I’ve never watched more than maybe ten minutes of Twin Peaks. I was too young for it when it was originally on. I caught a few minutes of some dude changing into some other dude when my parents were watching it with friends once. That’s about it. So when Andy told me this had some similarities, well, I’m going to have to take that on faith.

I started out trying to keep a little description of the plot going, but even describing the plot doesn’t touch the weirdness in this movie. I mean, it would give a good view of the events that happen, but it’s how they happen, and the impact they have on the characters that’s important. It’s semi-neo-noir, but sunnier than noir has any right to be. It’s a mystery, but it’s also an exploration of morality and sexuality and duality.

When we arrive in the town of Lumberton, with its puntastic radio station and cheerfully immaculate neighborhoods, we meet Jeffrey (Kyle MacLaughlan), who’s home from college to visit his father, who was injured in a freak lawn care accident. While he’s home, Jeffrey finds a dismembered ear in a field and ends up mixed up in things his previously mundane Lumberton life never prepared him for. With the help of Sandy (Laura Dern), a detective’s daughter, Jeffrey ends up spying on a woman who sings at a local club (Isabella Rossellini as Dorothy), discovering that she’s being abused and sexually coerced by a psycho named Frank (Dennis Hopper) while he has her husband and son locked away somewhere. Through Frank, Jeffrey learns that Lumberton is hiding a whole seamy underbelly, with drug deals and murders and brothels. Eventually everything comes to a head and there’s a confrontation between Frank and Jeffrey in Dorothy’s apartment. There’s a corrupt cop involved, but it’s never made very clear what he’s up to other than being a corrupt cop. But beyond that it would seem to be sort of straightforward, right?

Except it’s not. Mainly because there’s this whole thing between Jeffrey and Dorothy, but also between Jeffrey and Sandy. And Frank’s obviously got some mommy issues in addition to all the other issues he’s got (like his amyl nitrate habit and his overuse of the word “fuck”). I could spend a lot of time dissecting the themes and symbolism in this movie, but I don’t think it’s necessary. Plenty of people already have, I’m sure, and I don’t want to be writing this all night. Basically there’s a conflict within Jeffrey. Does he want the good girl, with the pastel dresses and sweet disposition? Or does he want the bad girl, the one who wears blue velvet and asks him to hit her? Can he want both? Can he want the bad girl but not the bad life? He’s pretty obviously out of place when Frank and his gang drag him along to the brothel. But he’s drawn to the whole mystery and to Dorothy herself anyhow.

There’s a lot more to it, of course. The movie has plenty to pick apart and put under a microscope. And it’s got plenty in it that sort of makes you wonder if it’s supposed to mean something or if it’s just there to set the scene. I feel like I should mention Brad Dourif as Raymond, one of Frank’s gang, but he’s clearly just creepy set dressing (he does do a good creepy guy). Dean Stockwell as Ben, on the other hand, who runs the brothel and seems blissed out on something and about to keel over until he sweeps into a lip-sync of In Dreams, which then ends abruptly and he’s out of the movie? Does his part mean anything? Or is he just a means to the end of getting In Dreams on cassette so it can play later while Frank beats up Jeffrey and one of the women from the brothel dances on the roof of the car? Who knows!

And then there’s the whole aesthetic of the movie. Lumberton seems to exist in a weird time limbo. The clothes and hair say 1980s, but a lot of the stylistic choices, like the cars, say 1950s. Dorothy’s apartment has a decidedly art deco look to it, but nothing else does. It’s almost as if someone tried to recreate the 20s and the 50s using only 80s stuff. But then both of the iconic songs used in the film (the titular Blue Velvet and Roy Orbison’s In Dreams) came out in 1963. It’s sort of like, take Pleasantville, infuse it with some fashion from Sixteen Candles and set Hitchcock loose in town.

I guess the only thing that throws me out of the movie is how blatant Jeffrey is in his naivete. I mean, it’s supposed to be obvious, but when he comes out with lines like “It’s a strange world.” and “Why are people like Frank in the world?” It just seems like a little too much telling. It’s not MacLaughlan’s issue. It’s the script. But that seems like another style choice. Like the whole bald-faced display of innocence is supposed to be over the top so that the flip side of it all is that much starker. I don’t know, maybe it’s a Lynch thing, but it’s not a me thing. I get it, but I’m not overly fond of it.

All that being said, I’m glad I’ve now seen the movie. It’s iconic. It’s a bizarre cultural touchstone. And while I might not be entirely taken with the style, I can certainly appreciate that Lynch has a style and that he’s picked some difficult subject matter to tackle. The performances, especially Rossellini and Hopper, are fantastic, and maybe the style will grow on me. It’s certainly interesting.

July 9, 2010 Posted by | daily reviews | , , , , , | 2 Comments

Blue Velvet

July 9, 2010

Blue Velvet

It’s been many years since I last saw this movie. Probably in the neighbourhood of about twenty years. And yet there are stark images in this film that have stuck with me all these years. The crazy ending. The ear. The sunny opening montage and its culmination in the grotesque underside of the picturesque town of Lumberton, USA.

I tried to describe the movie to Amanda this afternoon before we watched it. I chose to describe it as “Lynch Noir.” A twisted kind of murder mystery with a kind of Lynchian feel to it. As I watch it again this afternoon I think that it’s a lot closer to being a “Lynch Hitchcock” film. It’s got clear Hitchcock inspirations. The orchestral swelling when Laura Dern’s character, Sandy, first appears, emerging slowly from shadow, is pure classic Hollywood.

The theme, of the perversions that lie hidden under the surface of idyllic little towns, is something Lynch likes to explore. (Particularly of course with Twin Peaks.) This movie is full of twisted broken crazy people.

Young Jeffrey, played with a kind of naive charm by Kyle MacLachlan, discovers a lone human ear in a field. Jeffrey is simple all-American kid, but that ear intrigues him. He gets a little obsessive (a character flaw that does him no good in the rest of the movie) and goes to talk to the police chief about it. When the police chief tells him that he shouldn’t get involved Jeffrey ends up trying to investigate the mystery of the ear with the chief’s daughter. She doesn’t know much, but she thinks maybe that a woman named Dorothy has something to do with it (based on her eavesdropping on her father.)

From there it starts out as a sort of Hitchcockian suspense film as the two kids plan to break into Dorothy’s apartment and search for clues. But when Jeffrey gets caught by Dorothy in her closet things begin to get weird. And slowly, over the course of the rest of the movie, things get weirder. The mystery at the heart of the movie isn’t really the point of the film, we discover.

There might be a kidnapping involved. And something about a corrupt cop and a drug deal. But mostly the movie is about the strange creepy seedy world that Jeffrey finds himself falling into. A world full of some of the oddest characters ever committed to film. There’s the severely broken Dorothy (played with absolutely brutal frailty by Isabella Rossellini.) There’s the savage, unpredictable and utterly batshit Frank (Dennis Hopper at his most psychotic.) There’s a very surreal drug den party at the home of the unflappably suave Ben. Dean Stockwell, as Ben, is probably my favorite part of the whole movie. His den of iniquity is something directly out of Ed Wood’s The Sinister Urge. It’s the evil abode of a drug peddler as seen through the eyes of cautionary tales of the fifties. More Reefer Madness than Scarface.

It’s strange. My memories of this movie from back in eighty-eight or eighty-nine when I first saw it are of a much darker and bleaker movie. The more perfect than perfect ending of the movie reminds me in equal parts of the first Nightmare on Elm Street and Brazil. Maybe I’m supposed to take away that the perfect suburban world that Jeffrey returns to at the end of the film is a dreamworld, and that Frank’s crazy land of lawbreaking hoodlums is more real? I’m not sure.

Then again, I think part of what David Lynch likes doing more than anything else is leaving the viewer unsettled and unsatisfied. It’s how he gets his kicks. (Someday I’ll have to try watching Mulholland Drive, which is famous for being an inscrutable piece of weirdness that explains nothing.)

This movie really makes me want to watch Twin Peaks. So very much. Sadly, although I have the first season special edition box set of Twin Peaks that set doesn’t include the pilot. How can I watch the show without watching the pilot? Lynch, you bastard.

July 9, 2010 Posted by | daily reviews | , , , | Leave a comment

Movie 100 – Wool 100%

Wool 100% – June 8th, 2010

This is one of the few movies we’ve bought on the recommendation of someone else since starting this project. We think of so many titles on our own, we don’t really need many suggestions of other stuff. But we couldn’t resist this. And tonight, for our 100th movie, we are watching a 100 minute long film with 100 in the title. We thought it was somewhat fitting. My boss recommended this after I told her about Russian Ark and we started talking about weird movies. “You’ve got to see this one,” she told me. “It’s this Japanese movie about these two sisters who collect trash and live in this huge house full of junk and one day they find a mess of red yarn and take it home and this girl shows up and starts knitting it.” And then she showed me the trailer on YouTube. So thank you to my boss, J (not the same J who’s done a review for us though), for this.

Okay, so imagine a cross between the Collyer brothers and the Beales, but in Japan, and then bring on the surrealism. So Ume and Kame, the sisters, are known around town for collecting things from the trash. The movie begins with a little background in the form of a folk tale about how they love everything they take home and the things they take home love them too and take care of them and watch over them in their big mansion full of stuff. They also document each find in a sketch book, drawing a picture of it and labeling it. And on the morning when the movie begins, awoken by a group of children singing (and their teacher on an accordion), they go out and find a plastic doll, a salon hair dryer, and a basket full of balls of roughly spun red wool. They bring the wool home, but it trails behind them, caught on nails and bushes and wound through the streets. And that night, someone follows it, gathering it in her arms and tracking it back to the house.

The sisters awaken in the middle of the night, hearing something downstairs. They go down to check it out and to the sounds of what I believe is a bass, some cellos, tubas, maybe a sousaphone? Lots of deep horns and strings anyhow. They find Aminaoshi (“Knit-Again”), who has knitted herself a sweater from the red yarn. She pulls it on, stands up, says “knit again” and falls asleep, knitting needles still in her hands. She sleeps on their table and breakfast is eaten around her, this mysterious girl in the bright red sweater, as if she wasn’t there, but oh, she makes everything so awkward! Her very existence ruins their whole routine, from breakfast to their attempts to find new treasures. And then she trashes their kitchen and shows up screaming about how she has to knit something all over again. And when I say screaming? I mean multi-tonal screams in several voices, echoing through the house. And she doesn’t fucking stop until she’s knitting. And when she finishes? She stops and screams and starts over, unraveling her sweater and knitting it into a new one.

And then the house starts fighting back at her, because she’s disturbing the sisters, you see. And she fights back against it, destroying things the sisters love. They make her leave, and she comes back. She mucks with the doll they found at the beginning and stabs its eyes with her knitting needles then the sisters hallucinate that she’s pregnant and then there’s an interlude with a dollhouse. And then another one in the sketchbook, with a sort of flip book animation of a sketched Aminaoshi breaking the sketches of the treasures and then swimming and running and there’s a strange mysterious male shadow figure that looms over the end of it. And oddly, the pregnancy and the knitting and the man all end up making sense. Well, a little sense.

Ume and Kame start to throw things away, spurred on by Aminaoshi’s destruction. They uncover a dollhouse they’d thought they threw away, and it’s the dollhouse from earlier. The dolls inside are Ume and Kame as girls, and so we finally get some semi-coherent story. From what we’re told through the dollhouse, Ume and Kame lived with their mother in the mansion when they were small and their mother tells them they’ll all live there forever together. Except then she’s pregnant. And then she’s going away. Then we’re back to the sisters as older women and they’re gleefully destroying their mountains of junk in their yard. Aminaoshi is upstairs in the now-neater house, but the house has one more weapon: the television. Which comes to life and starts trying to eat the yarn. Aminaoshi fights it, then disappears, and we get the rest of the story. Their mother died, leaving them alone in their house. And having only ever been told “When you knit, a baby will come,” they agree to knit babies for each other. A young man comes and takes away the dollhouse and, thinking that knitting is the path to babies, they knit instead of talking to him. Of course neither gets pregnant.

We return to the older sisters to find that they’ve knit a sweater for Aminaoshi, which they put on her when they find her, and all would seem to be well. But of course she’s not happy and slips away in the night, telling them that they will have to knit again. She burns the sketch book and the house and unravels the sweater, leading the sisters off away from their old life. And then it’s over.

There’s very little dialogue in this. Aminaoshi does her screaming and the sisters talk every so often, but so much more of the movie is told through action and visual and the sousaphone (I have no idea if that’s what it really is but I like the word ‘sousaphone’) I feel like I have a lot to say about the movie, but I’ve spent so much space just explaining what goes on on screen. It’s not like it’s an easy movie to sum up. Obviously it’s all very symbolic and there’s a lot of meaning inherent in the knitting and the collecting and Aminaoshi and her endless repetition and her destructive tendencies and the dollhouse and the animated objects in the house. She seems to be both their mother and their daughter in one, a child with temper tantrums and a wise old soul, knowing that the house isn’t as it should be. That the sisters aren’t as they should be. She doesn’t entirely know her own purpose. And the sisters themselves have hidden the memory of their mother and their ignorance behind walls of things people threw away, like the little girls threw the mother doll out the window of the dollhouse. Until this wool spirit shows up to disrupt their life and make them create something new. This movie made me cry, even with all its strangeness and surreal moving blankets and dolls. It has true emotional impact embedded deep into its story.

Maybe some time I’ll revisit this. It deserves more, but it’s so bizarre it’s difficult to parse in one sitting. If I can stand Aminaoshi’s screaming, I’ll watch it again some time and hopefully have more to say.

June 8, 2010 Posted by | daily reviews | , , , , | Leave a comment