The Berlinale Blog: Japan in black and white, caffeine in color



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Desbord … and Zellners and Kumiko,

I disagree.

This is not about victory. Nor is it a story about mental illness as a "radical lifestyle choice." What it is, is a film that reflects on the real-life, historically fully contextualized story of a Japanese woman who left Japan for North Dakota and what she assumed to be some pot of gold aka, suitcase full of dollars buried in a field--as per the Coen's Fargo. The Guardian reported it - and several more meta-layers of subsequent action - back in 2003.

Doesn't the half-playful, allusive tone make that clear? Using a bunny rabbit in any film is a red scarf waving wildly in the direction of mental instability (Alice in Wonderland, Harvey) … but not ignoring, as neither of these works did either, the serious implications of living in a never-never world. What's the term tragicomedy for, if not for a film like this?

And isn't this film more of a post Desbordian reflection, in which the re-creation of spectacle, as opposed to its passive reception in a society ossified by advertising and image-based culture, actually ends in real--life death--and is then re-created for the screen? The permutations are endless and I'll be thinking about this film for a long time, trying to work them out.

Eve Lucas more than 2 years ago

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