24 January 2008 | tedg
The Third One Matters
I wonder what is behind projects like this. I suppose because it is easy to attract talented filmmakers to do a 45 minute project. Such a thing is usually under our expectations of "long form" meaning that the cinematic effect can be direct and uncomplicated.
I thought "Eros" was extremely interesting in the freedom it gave its directors. Three men usually obsessed with elaboration were freed from that expectation and could give a poem rather than a novel.
The results here are mixed though. That's because Asian horror is often never long form at all. Its one scene extended for a long time and surrounded by explanation.
The disk that came to me had "Dumplings" by Chan first, then "Cut"and "Box" last.
Dumplings was for me the most fascinating. I'm challenged when I see multiple versions of something and among the most interesting of these is two versions of the same film by the same filmmaker. I had seen the extended "Dumplings" which I assume was filmed at the same time and simply edited differently. It had a completely different feel to it in the long version. The unsettling thing about that was that it was more real. The sound effects of the eating and the copulation were identical, a remarkable effect.
In this version, its more otherworldly, and there is one special effect at the end that underscores this and for me took all the horror out of what the woman was doing at the time. Its still Chan and why I watched the disk.
Second up was something from Korean Chan-wook Park I know only his "Old Boy" which is a remarkable mix of junk and genius. The setup here is mostly on the junk side. You can skip it if you watch movies the way I do.
The amazing surprise for me was Takashi Miike's "Box." I was very impressed with "Audition," but for some reason haven't followed up. He's amazingly prolific and it seems that he doesn't think things through before he starts. But this little thing is nearly perfect.
Its a Japanese ghost story with a twist that makes it even more sharp. Its cinematic at its center. You can literally watch it with no voice. Its beautiful, and I will include a few of its scenes in my list of films that handle fabric architecturally. (In this case that includes plastic sheets.)
Its folded in the way I study. It involves three persons, a family. Performers. It involves them performing for audiences and each other, connected by performance, sex, kinship. We have performances of all these types, dreams, visions, hallucinations all neatly nested within each other. Physically, you will see that "in a box" will have several meanings, along the lines of groundhog day (so as not to spoil it), body, enclosing space and spiritual being.
It really is perfect and lovely and haunting. You will watch it over and over.
Ted's Evaluation -- 3 of 3: Worth watching.