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Sunday, October 30, 2016

YUME JÛ-YA / TEN NIGHTS OF DREAMS (2006)

Omnibus pic of ten one-reel sketches taken loosely from Japanese novelist Natsume Soseki, with barely a stinker in its odd 100 minutes (some odder than others). And it includes the penultimate work from 91-yr-old master Kon Ichikawa. Here’s the brief: 

  1. Wife leaves husband for a hundred year wait with (make that as) a goldfish.
  2. Young samurai fails to do the honorable thing . . . that's the lesson. (From Ichikawa, still stylish & economical, shooting in silent monochrome with a single red element.)
  3. In 1908, a father of five children (and one on the way) imagines a deformed son (who may be himself?). A panic dream or his next short story?
  4. A guest speaker in a strange town looks for the lecture hall only to find shadows of his own sickly childhood.
  5. A wife desperately gallops away from the gore & misfortune of her domestic life; winds up sharing breakfast with her understanding husband. (Weak & mystifying.)
  6. Comic relief, at last! A master wood carver demonstrates his rhythmic swing-and-sway 'phantom' sculpting technique, inspiring a local to try it. (Funny, or is it a metaphor for filmmaking? Yikes!)
  7. Another fishy fish story, animated & in English, about a sailor on a mystery ship filled with various species and one lovely lady. He wants to connect, but goes overboard into a sort of 2001 - ‘Jupiter and Beyond’ Kubrickian ocean.
  8. All the boys are catching crayfish, except for Mitsu who pulls in a monstrous snail-like thing. He brings it home as a pet; Mom wants it out of the house; Uncle wants a snack. (A tale so strange, Soseki, our late author, shows up just to be confounded.)
  9. Dad’s off to war, mother & child pray for him at temple. But the boy gets stuck at the place, catching peeks of his father at the front . . . and still at home.
  10. A comedy wrap-up about a returning prodigal stud. He left with a beauty and found out first-hand how sausages are made. Now, he wants no part of it!
Lots of real visual treats in here; but perhaps best seen in stages.

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