In wake of the social unrest caused by the 1923 Great Kanto Earthquake, two female sumo athletes, Kiku and Tokachi, and an anarchist group called the Guillotine Society, spark an unlikely connection.
Japan’s Takahisa Zeze began his career as a soft-core pinku ega director before moving into the mainstream. But he has lost neither the verve nor the edge of his early films, and only gained in ambition, as can be seen in this combo anarcho-terrorist meets female sumo wrestler historical drama!
Like the wrestlers themselves this movie hinges on loud bombastic attitude juxtaposed with understated beauty and serenity. Everyone is always shouting, at least 45 minutes too long, and still by the end I was an emotional wreck. Hugely imperfect but nonetheless very rewarding.
An engrossing and at times perplexing film. It explores the lives of those who in some way go against the grain. Revolutionary, anarchist, socialists and a women troupe of sumo wrestlers. The latter are seen as indecent, but the reality seems that this troupe is a haven from some kind of persecution. The former seemed from the start un-devoted of the male revolutionaries. This changes as their number drop.
A fascinating film, very intricate plot, great action, strong performances. The women were so good that it was hard to believe that they weren’t actually Sumo wrestlers. I learned much about Japanese culture, language, early 20th century history. On the downside, it seemed overly long and I believe it could be carefully shortened without losing its power and beauty.
Even though the film's length is not always justifed as some set pieces tend to offer little in terms of narrative development, its ambition and scope (although spectacle is generally restrained) is undeniable. The sheer ingenuity of the theme of women's empowerment through sumo and the holy alliance struck with anarcho-socialist intellectuals and activists against Japanese militarism is enough to engage and impress.
If you're going to make a three hour film you'd best have something to say. This film wavers between hysteria and more hysteria, when it's not just empty noise or modulated pointlessness. It could lose three hours of its three hours and nine minutes and be vastly improved.
I think this is an interesting movie.
I watched it at Göteborg Film Festival. The structure of the movie differ a abit from what I am used to watching and the movie is very long.
I really like the sumo scenes and I also note that some dramatic scenes become very much like it feels like they over play.
But the overall impression is that anyone should give it a go.
Demasiado larga, actuaciones que rayan en lo melodramático. Violencia sin sentido y sin estética, no enriquece la trama, se siente gratuita. Demasiados gritos y llanto. No logré conectar con los personajes, cuando los créditos finales muestran que fueron gente real es irrelevante, tanto como la escueta información sobre ellos tras la guerra. Y no hay mención sobre las mujeres, mayormente inventadas para la película.