Professional film critic, amateur semiotician, chronicler of Filipino Cinema.
Spend enough time with people, and you think you know them. This is one of the greatest follies of being human: the arrogance of believing that by observing another person, one can fully understand the entirety of their existence. We make assumptions based on observable routine: she likes her coffee this way, he walks with this gait, they talk in some manner. And from those bits and pieces of visible behavior, from the scraps of half-remembered conversation, we form some…
It's worth talking about the process: Glenn Barit and his team shot an entire movie. Then, they took eight frames out of every second and printed them out. Then they photocopied those printouts in black and white. And they took highlighters and physically colored in certain sections of every frame. And then they scanned those images and assembled them back into a movie.
What we get feels like a memory. It is easy enough to dismiss it in the abstract…
Forget it, Sakata. It's an unnamed town somewhere in Tohoku held under the sway of a nuclear power plant.
Comparisons to Chinatown are unavoidable, though this movie is even more bleak. Sakata is no Jake: he's a Yakuza pimp in search of one of his girls, who happens to owe him money. He pretty much tells us he's hit Nozomi before, because this is just the kind of thing he does. There's not an ounce of nobility to be found…
The deadpan affect goes a long way in giving this movie some appeal, a lot of its comedy drawn from people saying completely absurd things without so much blinking an eye. This is just what Riley Stearns does, though, his films somewhat of an exercise in what one can get away with if all the dialogue is delivered as flatly as possible.
It feels satirical without actually having much of a satirical target. It felt like the movie was nudging…
This review may contain spoilers. I can handle the truth.
Update: Now in video form
There is a house on a hill, and there are people in it. And they're nice, but not really. There is a garden, and there they get a lot of sunlight. And it is nice, and they get to sleep there sometimes.
There is a house underground, and there are people in it. And they're the first to tell you that they're not very nice: they're con-men, grifters, forgers and imposters. They sit among stink…
Yeah, this is really cute. But also: it latches on to something profoundly human. This is a little cartoon about feeling inadequate, about the anxiety one feels when first striking out on one's own. And it's about how it's usually okay to ask for help. It can be difficult to ask for help sometimes, because that means showing people that you don't know how to do something. But hey, that's okay: we're all just fumbling around in one way or another.
Just lovely all around.