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Tuesday, August 3, 2010

HISHU MONOGATARI / A TALE OF SORROW AND SADNESS (1977)


A decade after getting fired by his studio for making ‘incomprehensible’ movies, master Japanese helmer Seijun Suzuki finally returned to the big screen with . . . an incomprehensible movie. That’ll show ‘em! Sadly, the great man really stunk up the joint on this story of a malleable young woman who’‘s groomed to be a media phenom, first as a golf champ, then as a tv hostess. As her fame grows, mentors & lovers of all persuasions curry favor and try to monopolize her attention. Meantime, her kid brother begins to resent taking a back seat to all those devouring fans. No doubt a dark satire on corporate mores, media fame, the loss of identity & the frustrations of playing golf drew Suzuki to this project, but the script is an illogical mess. You know that something’s gone very wrong when Suzuki’s flair for color & composition deserts him. His saturnine tone of comic subversion remains functioning, but it's not enough. The film comes across as self-sabotage.

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