Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Honourable Mentions: Izo


This 2004 film by Takashi Miike is somewhat difficult to explain as the essay at dinaMiike reviews begins, “Izo isn’t a movie that should be understood or that one could try to explain: we can only undergo it.”

Okado Izo (Kazuya Nakayama) is a samurai and assassin for a warlord. Izo crucifiedHe is crucified for his service and that becomes a grudge that sends his soul on a violent journey through time and space. Whilst he is an Edo age character, Izo, in many respects, represents the spirit of the modern age – the struggle against autocracy, be that political or religious – and yet, as his journey continues he losses more and more humanity. He becomes demon-like, divorced from the ordinary man through blood and violence.

Izo the demonIt is not his demon form, masked with fangs that drip with blood, which has caused this honourable mention, however. Whilst there are fangs here he is not a vampire. He does meet, early on, two vampires or two fanged creatures at least. All the sources I have been able to check, however, offer the impression that they are vampiric in nature.

vampire realtorsIzo has just rutted with Mitochondria Eve, a primitive Earth Goddess type, and is in underground caverns, when two realtors come towards him. “Hell is in your mind” they tell Izo but, when he stabs one, they bear fangs and start stabbing at him repeatedly with daggers – until he kills them (somehow, the how was a little unclear).

dying vampireThe reasoning to have an estate agent/realtor juxtaposed as a vampire was obvious, of course, though there is some degree of merging symbols to create something new and yet familiar through the film. And that’s it, a minute or so at the most, but a brief inclusion of vampires in an over two hour parade of violence and symbolism that will have your head spinning. Is it worth seeing, or undergoing? I would say it depends on your tolerance for unusual Japanese cinema and violent swordplay.

The imdb page is here.

No comments: