8 October 2005 | indexFinger
Bizarre but tons of fun
Be sure not to miss this most irreverent "jidai-geki" (period piece) from first-time director Kudo Kankuro. Loosely based on an earlier movie about two men escaping their wives, the postmodern treatment of the subject is indeed a treat. As one critic in Japan commented, the director must have been drunk while filming -- offbeat isn't quite the word, and off-the-wall goes only so far. But if you've ever wanted to see Tetris with dead people floating down the river on rafts, anachronism at the most unexpected times, or just shut off your brain and enjoy a movie which is really impossible to follow, Yaji and Kita's Midnight Pilgrimage will not disappoint. It's half-serious way of dealing with, in the best road movie traditions, two gay lovers, one a drug addict popping blue pills, make their way from medieval Edo to Ise and then when you least expect, burst out the absurd (motorcylces, TV shows, modern-day Tokyo). The translations occasionally fell flat (since the movie includes a lot of verbal jokes in Japanese) or were just plain unintelligible, but watching the miniature Tamiya tankers roll by needs no translations. So, sit back and enjoy the ride.