This past week I managed to watch mostly films I really enjoyed. Part of it had to do with me re-watching one of my favorites in Gregg Araki’s Kaboom (2010) and Jørgen Leth’s Det perfekte menneske (1967), so those were safe bets. Also, how could I dislike a documentary about one of my all time favorite filmmakers? Impossible. In The Realm of the Senses, was not a surprise either, because everything that is in the Criterion Collection is there for a reason and always worth checking out.
In the Realm of the Senses (1976) – 7.5 (IMDb 6.6) – Drama, Romance, History (Japan)
You know how some movies are described as “wall-to-wall action”? By that same token In the Realm of the Senses would fall in the category of “wall-to-wall sex”. Contrary to exploitation cinema, this film however is artfully shot and composed and never goes into sleazy territory, even if its subject matter would easily allow it to. Then again it is based on true events, so maybe that’s what’s grounds the film into some kind of reality and good taste.
The story about two lovers that are physically consumed by their lust and carnal desires succeeds, because it embraces its subject matter without being judgmental or condescending. If you’re starting to get excited about Lars von Trier’s Nymphomaniac, I can imagine this would make a great double-feature and approach some of the same themes. Much like Nagisa Ôshima’s Empire of Passion (1978) the climax of the film is pure poetry. Definitely recommended if you like movies that are less about plot and more about penetrating into the mind of its characters and exploring the madness that is our human nature.
‘PICK OF THE WEEK’
Woody Allen: A Documentary (2012) – 8 (IMDb 7.6) – Documentary, Biography (USA)
Shot in beautiful, bright, black & white, Jørgen Leth’s The Perfect Man, although literally “the perfect human begin” (which makes more sense since there’s also a woman in it) is one of the most perplexing and unique short films ever made. While short films are usually played for laughs or a punch line, Det perfekte menneske is more interested in aesthetics than making a point. The film doesn’t have a narrative in a strict sense, but simply presents us with mundane activities and facts revolving around the perfect human being. Adding a layer of mystery and surreal, the perfect human himself directly addresses his audience telling us about a weird incident that happened to him. Although we don’t get what he really means, at the end of the film he explains that we will understand “in a few days”. Continue reading