Thursday, May 26, 2011

Three Films Make A Post: A Teenage Titan Of Terror On A Lustful Binge!

Battle Angel aka Battle Angel Alita aka Gunnm (1993): This two-part OVA based on the never-ending manga series by Yukito Kishiro suffers from being one of those OVAs that are really not more than moving complements of their sources. While the plot of the two OVAs mostly does stand for itself, the whole thing still feels a lot like the first chapter of a much longer story that it actually is, instead of being a truly satisfying artefact of its own. That's not to say that the anime isn't fun: it keeps closely to Kishiro's original designs and his world-building style, mixing background details that imply a lot of history with a very blunt yet effective idea of how metaphors work; the violence is satisfying and the drama works too.

The Good, The Bad, The Weird (2008): Stylistically and tonally extremely mobile - and extremely awesome - South Korean director Kim Ji-woon takes the Spaghetti Western and transplants it into Manchuria during the Japanese occupation. Obviously, that time and place is extremely fitting for a mash-up between an Italian way to look at a very US American genre, South Korean contemporary ideas of how to film a kinetic action sequence, and bits and pieces of Japanese and Chinese cinema and culture, until everything turns into a bright, shiny and pretty damn entertaining piece of Pop (yes, the sort with a capital P and more intelligence than anyone could expect from it). Add to that Song Kang-ho out-acting the rest of a pretty swell cast (sorry, Lee Byeong-Heon's hair and Jeong Woo-seong's hat), and you have yourself quite a film.

Werewolf Woman (1976): On first glance, Rino Di Silvestro's movie about Annik Borel running around naked, having sex, screaming and moaning hysterically and killing people might look like the Platonic Ideal of the sleazy Italian sex horror movie, and therefore a film I'd absolutely adore, what with its nearly around-the-running-time nudity, its dialogue full of bad Freudian clichés, its physically improbable murder scenes and some truly histrionic performances. Alas, this is one of those sad cases where a film is so concerned with fulfilling its exploitational duties that it becomes exhausting, its wallowing in sleaze proving monotonous instead of stimulating. Werewolf Woman's fixation on all that is naked and loud is so complete that I found myself - paradoxically - getting bored by it after only half of it had run its course, as if I had found myself in the anti-matter version of all those late 70s lucha movies where nothing ever happens - a movie where so much happens (well, except for an actual plot) that it's impossible to be interested in any of it.

If that doesn't make much sense to you, welcome to the club. I can't explain why a film full of sex, violence, and screaming can still feel as tedious as Werewolf Woman does in any rational way, but feel that way it does.


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