Labyrinth of Dreams
- 1h 30min
Bus conductor Tomiko falls in love with driver Niitaka, even though she also suspects him of being a serial killer who killed his female conductors after tiring of them.Bus conductor Tomiko falls in love with driver Niitaka, even though she also suspects him of being a serial killer who killed his female conductors after tiring of them.Bus conductor Tomiko falls in love with driver Niitaka, even though she also suspects him of being a serial killer who killed his female conductors after tiring of them.
From behind we are flat. Things have occurred. We are no longer agents weaving worlds but effects of a hungry system. We are no longer worlds but bits of a machine who chases us, closing in on our excretions of different types. Our sexual organs are balanced between, subject to being swallowed by fate, by mechanics alien in every way, but yearning to be the stuff of agency, making, being.
Its at this fractal edge this film (and its companions by this filmmaker) places itself, determined to scintillate between being, causing, at the front and noir structure behind, flat. Only the Japanese can approach this precipice in this way because only they have this tradition of flatness in image. Kurosawa solved it by superimposing sliding planes. Ishi by sliding narratives, conflicting in direction: things happening, caused versus things that have happened seeking explanation. He also leverages the ghost story form that seems to go back a millennium.
I applaud his ambition, and viscerally thrill at the cinematic investment. Its where art comes from. All art fails... that's the risk. Its just a matter of whether the artist has the confidence in how HE moves, because we can only see his flat backside. Ishi has that confidence, which you can sort into structure, and thence into life. And then if you dare into encounter.
Its then that you determine whether it is deep, a love, something that changes or merely tastes. In my case, I have to report, dear reader, that I was not transformed by this. This is not a life-altering encounter as some are. But it is something, not nothing, to have a film designed to be fully entered from behind. It is not trivial to find something open. In this case, the watcher is a pretty young woman who presents that cultured coyness unique to Japan that reports (here by letters) her willingness, no, eagerness to succumb.
By entering, you breath, and that's enough.
If you want a report from behind: the film is a mystery story about a male bus driver who may be a serial killer and his next victim, a pretty bus conductor who has placed herself in that position to investigate. Nominally, it is a game, a labyrinth, that the two enter, enclosed, largely pre-determined but with some choices. She falls in love with him...
This is the stuff that Ruiz handles so deftly but scarcely so visually.
Ted's Evaluation -- 3 of 3: Worth watching.
- Apr 28, 2008