And so the Revelation International Film Festival was brought to an an end with the most high profile film of the fortnight. International superstar 'Beat' Takeshi Kitano directing and starring in his first Yakuza movie in ten years, Autoreiji.
There is nothing new on show here. This is a Yakuza movie filled with double crossings, violent deaths, torture, honour and well that's about it. It merely updates the story and in Kitano's trademark way shows the Yakuza for what they are without dressing them up in glamour like an American movie might.
At times the plot is labyrinthine in it's crosses and double crosses and triple crosses and it is hard to keep track but in essence you can summarise the film as follows: Yakuza chairman plays power games with his underlings, playing them all off against each other in an effort to kill the strongest and most powerful and thus stop from getting killed in a power struggle. Beat Takeshi is Otomo, an old school yakuza who is lead around by the nose doing everyone's bidding whilst trying to keep one step ahead of being the next head on the chopping block.
Kitano makes beautiful films with violent content and this is no different, it's not as beautiful as some (see Hana-Bi and Sonatine) but it sure is violent in parts. The meandering plot doubles as a device to show Otomo killing in interesting ways, you may have heard of the dental office scene but there are a few others that are equally violent but not gruesome. None of which I will spoil for you by telling you about here.
It is a film littered with humour, some obvious visual jokes; some of them coming from the characters and I feel (as I often do with subtitled films) that some of the humour may have come from misunderstanding a foreign culture. But overall you feel nothing for a bunch of caricatures being used as a metaphor about the loss of honour in the Yakuza as they chase money and even the loss of tradition in Japanese culture.
I can't really recommend this movie too much, it's not bad as far as Yakuza movies go if you want some violence but if you were going to watch a Japanese movie or a Kitano movie you should probably watch something better.
So it ended on a down-ish note for me but The Revelation Perth International Film Festival was a great experience. I've never been part of something like a film festival before, never had a chance to see so many great films in the cinema and the hard work that went in to getting to the cinema to see 6 films in such a short space of time was completely worth it. I hope that these movies get worldwide cinematic releases, they deserve to be seen a lot more than most films that I see advertised but even if they don't I can safely say that the exhilaration of seeing something incredible in a cinematic environment is alive and well in this film lover and I appreciate the hard work that went on to bring such a great event to this backwater city of Perth.
Hopefully I don't have to wait a whole year until the next RPIFF to see something else as fresh and interesting and challenging and powerful as I have done these past two weeks.
Share the blah good readers, anyone else feel this way? Anyone love Outrage?