Friday, July 6, 2007

Retribution (Sakebi)

Stopped in at the New York Asian Film Festival, then at the IFC Center and now finishing up at the Japan Society, to check out the latest from one of my favorite living directors; screened July 3, 2007.

Written & Directed by Kiyoshi Kurosawa

"[Retribution is] best described as the host of the screening at the New York Asian Film Festival, where I caught it, explained it for the audience: half standard J-Horror, complete with a female ghost sporting long and straight black hair, and half far-out Kurosawa, a generic hybrid if Kurosawa could be considered his very own genre. Unfortunately, it's infected with the lesser aspects of both; from Kurosawa, it's incredibly difficult to follow, and as J-horror it's merely boilerplate. But as a testament to Kurosawa's commanding directorial acumen—he's no run-of-the-mill director, even when he's a little bit off—Retribution, remarkably, ultimately succeeds in at least as many ways as it fails, and though it won't be the focal feature of any Kurosawa retrospectives anytime soon, it's rife with clever symbolism and a biting subtext about the nature and causes of contemporary culture's decay."

Read the full review here.

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