A high school musical in which “a delinquent named Makoto comes to Tokyo to fulfill a vow to avenge his past.” Kevin Ouellette at Nippon Cinema: Ai is “the only daughter of a prominent and distinguished Tokyo family. Under normal circumstances, people from such vastly different backgrounds would never have met, but fate had different plans and the pair wind up falling in love. Meanwhile, an honors student named Iwashimizu (Takumi Saitoh) won’t stop telling Ai he’d die for her, Makoto is hunting a female gang leader, and chaos springs up all around them.”
A highly prolific and controversial Japanese filmmaker, Takashi MIIKE was born on August 24, 1960 in Yao, Osaka, Japan. Under the guidance of renowned filmmaker Shohei IMAMURA (a two-time Palme d’Or winner at Cannes), Miike graduated from the Yokohama Vocational School of Broadcast and Film.
Miike’s first films were television productions, but he also began directing several high-quality direct-to-video releases. His theatrical debut came in 1995 with Shinjuku Triad Society, and its success gave him the freedom to work on more ambitious projects. One of the most successful Japanese directors currently working, he has also garnered a strong cult following in the West that is growing rapidly as more of his films become available in translated form on DVD.
Some of Miike’s most popular films include Audition, the Dead or Alive trilogy, Ichi the Killer, Gozu, Izo, and Big Bang Love, Juvenile A.
Miike has achieved international notoriety for depicting shocking scenes… read more
adolescence as movement - fighting and dancing - postures, on the way to becoming something else. again miike returns to the image that haunts his career - a young man in a provincial town, abandoned by his parents, fighting and stealing to live...
In the first half of this film, my heart was sinking. I feared that one of the directors that got me into more varied cinema, getting his attention in the early 2000s when I was at the right age to pick up on him, was stagnating into a person more accessible to the “mainstream” but watering down his virtues, the same way I fear David Cronenberg is leading himself to. A bland, cookie cutter film like 13 Assassins is celebrated when something as vile and messy as Visitor Q is actually more artistically bold and rewarding in comparison. But as this manga adaptation went the aspects of Miike that made his films good suddenly started rising to the top through the mix of musical numbers and fighting. Admittedly seeing schoolgirl gang members, armed with sledgehammers and wanting to cave in his head, being beat up by the main male protagonist is eye-opening, but Miike’s obsessions really start to become upfront by the end, from the type of brutality shown to the emotional sincerity, especially his take on the exuberance of youth, and make the film far richer because of it. I still want to Miike of yore who did braver work to occasionally appear, still possible now it’s clear the same man is older and making films like For Love’s Sake, but if he keeps getting material like this that allows him to twist and turn it into ways shown here, then the roguish mentality I fell in love with in his films is going to stay with him even if he was to suddenly make a Disney animation or work with Tom Hardy.
The festival arrives at a close, with films in competition from David Cronenberg, Sergei Loznitsa, Im Sang-soo, and Jeff Nichols.
Three standous: a school musical brawl film by Miike, an episodic, shapeshifting nightcrawl by Carax, and fragments of grief from Rosales.
Takashi Miike’s immediate followup to Ace Attorney is a high school musical.