Thursday, March 27, 2014

Thursday: WHY DON'T YOU PLAY IN HELL? (No, really.)

Last night I went to see Sono Sion's 『地獄でなぜ悪い』 (Why Don't You Play in Hell?, 2013) at CineMatsuri and it was glorious!! I love Sono Sion's work anyways but this film really just hit the spot for me. The story has a lot of moving pieces but the gist is that an amateur filmmaker gets roped into filming a real gangster fight.

^^ Trailer. It's bloody, brutal, hilarious, smart, and kind of touching, too. And packed full of really quality actors letting loose. (You might recognize Kunimura Jun from Kill Bill.)

As I left the theater and was walking towards the Metro, I heard three youngsters behind me quoting their favorite lines really loudly and enthusiastically. And it's totally enjoyable on that level but I was also fascinated with how Sono also plays around with gangster film cliches and with the idea of how movies influence our ideas of reality. He deploys some devastatingly funny/ironic uses of schmaltzy Hollywood-style orchestral background music and sentimental flashback. And the gangsters themselves seem to have taken all their ideas of Proper Japanese Manliness from old samurai films.

I really love the clean style of Japanese filmmaking… sparing use of background score, unglamorous sets and costumes, and a big focus on the human element above all else. American film just doesn't do it for me, with a few exceptions. I still love my trashy American teen movies (Hands up who is going to see Divergent! *raises hand*) but the American films that really click with me are few and far between. Maybe the closest you'll get to a Why Don't You Play in Hell in the US is something like American Movie or the second part of Todd Solondz's Storytelling.

And then you have Upendra's A. And here is where I wish againsome of these AMAZING South Indian films would get decent subtitles and global recognition. I'm currently reading a couple of books on the art of translation and Edith Grossman's Why Translation Matters is definitely worth a read. Subtitles aren't going to give you the same experience as being able to understand the language but without them some really wonderful works of art in minor languages remain inaccessible to the majority of people… and our ideas about those cultures and peoples are left in the hands of the academics and the "academy" to pick and choose what gets shown and what doesn't.

That's why every film fan around the world knows Satyajit Ray and only the Indians and the weird obsessives like me know Manoj Kumar.

I don't think I'll review Why Don't You Play in Hell since I think there's enough info out there for you in English but definitely if you get a chance, go for it!!!

Anyways. Forgive the digression but it's silly season in the Bollywood press. I mean, it's always silly season but spring time is like the extra-special silly season. I couldn't even get through my news searches today because the stories were all so dumb. Basically, Varun Dhawan promoting Main Tera Hero (releasing April 4th!) has free rein over whatever publication he wants because nothing else is happening. Queen is playing for a record fourth week in my local theater for crying out loud! Kangana-starring, small-budget QUEEN!

Keep this in mind as we dive in the dregs of the dregs… ARE RANBIR AND KATRINA GETTING MARRIED IN 2015?! SALMAN FOR DHOOM 4!!!… don't say I didn't warn you!


Surprise, surprise IIFA appears to be business as usual.

OAtwell said a number of “buzz events” leading up to the awards weekend were planned by the original Bollywood awards host committee but were canceled. That left some businesses holding the bag on deposits they had made.

These events were to include community days and free concerts focusing on Indian culture. Each was to be organized by local companies.

One business that said it lost thousands of dollars was GRE Worldwide, a Tampa-based courier and labor company. In an email to the Tribune, GRE director of operations Richard Vollrath blamed “last minute cancellations dealing with the Bollywood host committee and unpaid cancellation fees.”


Aamir Khan is launching the first look of Heropanti.

Me want first look.

Me curious.

Also, there no other news.


When Harman Baweja is getting wall-to-wall coverage you know it's a slow news week. Unless he's gotten a talent transplant along with his new hairdo, I don't have much hope for our Off-Brand Hrithik.


Sunny Deol-uncle is another one who is benefitting from the lack of material. Here he is expressing the unsurprising opinion that "Chintu's son" is his favorite of the new guys.

I love that Sunny is still all "Chintu's son" about Ranbir.


And my favorite story of the day: AYUSHMANN KHURRANA TO ENDORSE PIZZA HUT?!

The question mark kills me. I mean, is he?! IS HE?!!!

Since he is "one of the hotshot meteors to have hit the galaxy of Bollywood," I demand official confirmation of this crucial, pizza related news!!


And a BIG congratulations to Rajat Kapoor for the glowing reviews Ankhon Dekhi is getting. It was a wonderful film and I hope everybody else gets a chance to see it.


And I'm possibly the only person who still sees "A Sajid Khan Film" and says to herself, "Yes. I'd like to see that."


Anonymous said...

I had not liked the behind the scenes stills from Humshakals (most of which seemed to involve Saif looking cross) and am a little alarmed by the mental image of Sajid casting Esha and Tamannaah as replacements for Jackie and Jiah. But I do like the motion poster-it looks like fun.

When you see news items like "Starlet From Karnataka Who Looks Kind Of Like Kajal Aggarwal Flubs Audition For Neeraj Pandey's Next," you KNOW it's the silly season.

Thanks for the CineMatsuri updates! I'm not very knowledgeable Japanese entertainment aside from a few Kurosawa movies and the anime of 20-30 years ago, so I don't feel like I have anything useful to say, but I do find your posts on that subject very educational :)

Sharon A. said...

Thank you for reminding me of Sion Sono. That last of movie I've seen of his was Noriko's Dinner Table. Definitely going to check out Why Don't Play In Hell? I really like his style.

.article .article-content { word-break: normal !important; }