This year, the immensely popular Fantasia International Film Festival celebrates its 25th edition. While psychocinematography is not that old (yet), we are grateful for Fantasia giving our small outlet, for the third year in a row, the chance to bring our unique psychoanalytical insights to the greater public,.
This year, we, once again, explored the wide selection of films screening at the festival to select some films that we, psychocinematography, duly recommend to the audiences. But that is not all. In the coming weeks, our readers can expect more reviews from Japanese films at this fantastic festival.
Films not to miss
Beyond The Infinite Two Minutes (2021) by Junta Yamaguchi
Yamaguchi’s Beyond The Two Infinite Minutes is a highly entertaining and cleverly constructed sci-fi film that not only underlines the power of romantic desire, but also reveals how tricky knowing the future can be. While Beyond The Two Infinite Minutes is less impactful than the somewhat similar One Cut Of The Dead (2018), it still has the potential to become, just like Ueda’s film, an international cult-hit.
Kakegurui (2019) by Tsutomu Hanabusa
Kakegurui is a pleasing, exhilarating gambling thriller that washes away the bitter taste the second drama series left in the mouth of many fans. With satisfying dramatic performances, plenty of tensive moments of gambling, and a pleasing exploration of the problematic truth of politics and the perverting influence of power and adoration, Tsutomu Hanabusa has created a narrative that will not only please long-time fans of the series, but also convert many newcomers into kakegurui’s enthusiasts.
Love, Life and Goldfish (2021) by Yukinori Makabe [Full review coming soon]
Love, Live, and Goldfish is an amazing narrative that explores elements marking contemporary Japanese society (e.g. the difficulty of expressing oneself, the enduring impact of the aesthetic tradition of Iki, and the female urban dream of wealth, …etc.) in a highly engaging and satisfying way. While Makabe’s narrative does not offer anything truly new or groundbreaking, what it does brings to the table is served with excellence. There is, in other words, not one single false note in this lighthearted musical romance.
Sakura (2020) by Hitoshi Yazaki
Sakura is a great narrative that does not only show that family happiness is but a semblance – behind the smiles hides pain and sadness – but also the very fact that the subject can only grasp his present subjective state by narrativizing (and, in many cases idealize) his past. What makes the narrative great is the fact that it avoids melodrama at all costs and let the emotions naturally flow from the performances as such.
Sexual Drive (2021) by Yoshida Kota
Sexual Drive is an amazing and unconventional narrative that not only explores the eroticism of the oral drive in an enticing and visually pleasing way, but also succeeds to touch, in a lighthearted way, upon the complexity of sexual desire as such. Kota, in fact, reveals three aspects of sexual desire: its dependence on the image the subject has of the sexed other– Madonna or whore, the need for the subject to accept the polymorph perverse reality of his own sexual desire, and the fact that the male and female subject never meet each other as subject in the act of copulation.
Under The Open Sky (2020) by Miwa Nishikawa
With her deeply humanistic Under The Open Sky, Miwa Nishikawa re-affirms why she is one of the leading contemporary Japanese directors. With her elegant hand, a hand fluidly mixing genuine drama with charming moments lightheartedness, she succeeds in delivering a (damning) look at the vicious and unforgiven nature of the judgmental Other as well as heartwarming emotionally rich exploration of the importance of supportive inter-subjective social bonds for the subject to be able to re-formulate their ego and position within society. Highly recommended.
Wonderful Paradise (2020) by Masashi Yamamoto
Wonderful Paradise is an entertaining and highly unpredictable ride. Yet, the failure to mirror the absurdness of the narrative with a supportive absurdness in the composition ultimately turns this otherwise innovative family dramedy into an experience that is unable to fully satisfy the spectator. Yamamoto’s Wonderful Paradise is a great experiment of the absurd, but its full potential to satisfy the spectator is hindered by its somewhat lackluster composition.