Screened as part of NZIFF 2006
Brainy and playful as its title suggests, this Altmanesque comedy, set in a Japanese college for the performing arts, sees both light and dark in the unstable mix of art and life coursing through the heads and hearts of a class of film students. In the 80s, Yanagimachi struck the world as the new visionary in Japanese cinema with his startling and violent Fire Festival and Farewell to the Land. After teaching for a decade, he returns with a radically different, equally striking film. He follows a group of students as they prepare a movie about a seemingly gratuitous murder. Wryly eyeing their competitiveness and sexual power plays, the film depicts a generation so steeped in Western culture that its touchstones are film noir and European art movies. This film exudes a treacherous love of cinema, from the sly virtuosity of the opening sequence that riffs on The Player to a powerful finale that reveals depths as disturbing and strange as anything in Camus.
"An intricately structured, deeply meditated film, made by a master at the top of his form." — Mark Schilling, Japan Times