Snowy River

Seijun Suzuki’s swan song, PRINCESS RACCOON is likely to boggle you. Even if, like me, you enjoy being boggled, you may still find it boggles you TOO MUCH. There is, perhaps, a limit to the bogglery a person can endure in a single evening. But this is an incredibly beautiful film, a deeply unusual one — more readable and less startling to Japanese viewers, no doubt, but still intentionally quirky as heck — and a very sweet way for Suzuki, whose celebrated yakuza pulps aren’t typically all that sweet, to shuffle off.

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Somehow, it makes the most perfect sense possible that Suzuki should end his career with a musical, though.

It’s also very Christmassy, or wintery anyhow. And since December has begun, that is officially O-kay!

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11 Responses to “Snowy River”

  1. david wingrove Says:

    This film is an utter masterpiece…the greatest fantasy film since 2000, together with Tarsem Singh’s THE FALL. These stills alone are enough to put me in a cheery holiday mood!

  2. They are quite festive, aren’t they?

  3. Tony Williams Says:

    A beautiful film that I review in the now sadly defunct ASIAN CULT CINEMA.

  4. Wow, david wingrove makes a connection I hadn’t made before, but it’s perfect! Love both those films as well, and they share a fantastical design and color sense, a postmodern narrative sense, and a humane warmth of feeling. As for overly-boggling, that was my first impression of Suzuki’s penultimate film, PISTOL OPERA, which I still need to give another shot (ar ar ar) some day.

  5. Seijun Suzuki is alive and well, though… right?

    Loved this movie so much I made myself a soundtrack CD from the DVD, including bits of dialogue (though I understand no Japanese).

  6. Alive, hopefully well, but retired from action (cinema).

    Pistol Opera I still have to see. Branded to Kill makes me slightly queasy but it’s incredibly beautiful in places. And I really like Youth of the Beast. I still have so many of his films to see!

  7. ‘Alive, hopefully well, but retired from action (cinema).’
    …and famously contradictory, so he may return. A mere youngster compared with Manoel De Oliveira.

  8. True, but then everyone is. It would be lovely if he returned. But then, so few filmmakers quit on a high, and he truly did.

  9. david wingrove Says:

    Randy Byers –

    If you’re trying to make some sense of PISTOL OPERA (never an easy task) I actually wrote piece about it for SENSES OF CINEMA a couple of years back. It should still be available on their website.

    Not that I’d ever claim my piece makes sense of the film – but my own bewilderment may add a new perspective to yours. Perhaps we could compare notes and indulge in some mutual cyber skull-scratching?

  10. Sounds good — the film’s been on my to-see list for years now!

  11. David W, what’s the name of your piece at Senses of Cinema? Is it “Confessions of a Stray Cat”?

    Ah, now I see the post here at Shadowplay that says it’s so. That’s a terrific piece — I love all the associations with other film makers — and it makes me want to watch PISTOL OPERA again. Maybe I’ll watch both it and PRINCESS RACCOON again over the weekend.

    It turns out I’ve watched nine films by Suzuki now, with the earliest being UNDERWORLD BEAUTY. I think TOKYO DRIFTER is still my favorite after PRINCESS RACCOON, but they’ve all been interesting at least on the visual level. PISTOL OPERA was the one that simply defeated me on a first try.

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