Archive for Obayashi

The Parcel

Posted in FILM with tags , , , , , , , , on April 13, 2018 by dcairns

A box arrived. I was excited. Masters of Cinema had been trying for some weeks to send me copies of the latest Blu-Rays to which I had contributed video essays. They kept going astray. The box that eventually arrived had been violently smashed in, but it contained copies of Dreyer’s MICHAEL, Obayashi’s HOUSE and King Hu’s LEGEND OF THE MOUNTAIN, mercifully undamaged. My theory is that a disgruntled postal worker ripped the package open, discovered it contained arthouse movies he’d already stolen for his vast collection, and so grudgingly allowed the delivery to continue.

I did my first ever animated main title for HOUSE (not counting the astounding cartooning Danny Carr did for my SULLIVAN’S TRAVELS piece) — I felt the movie deserved something funky, so I traced the title of my piece a bunch of times, then customized them with coloured dots and dashes, then scanned the results. Editor Stephen Horne flipped the scans into negative and did various colouring tricks to create an even wider variety of looks, and the results play out stroboscopically at the start of my piece, to an accompaniment of girlish screams and the music of Godiego.

All three pieces have had some nice reviews online — nobody else has the trouble I do with postal delivery, it seems — though one critic points out that I can’t pronounce wuxia correctly. Of course, I was using the SCOTTISH pronunciation.

LEGEND OF THE MOUNTAIN [Masters of Cinema] Dual Format (Blu-ray & DVD)

House (HAUSU) [Masters of Cinema] Blu-ray

Michael [Masters of Cinema] Blu-ray

Advertisements

Too Cool for School

Posted in FILM with tags , , , on November 22, 2017 by dcairns

SCHOOL IN THE CROSSHAIRS isn’t about school shootings at all, it’s a lighthearted cosmic adventure story set at a Japanese high school, combining mythic good v. evil stuff with martial arts and teen romance. John Woo meets John Hughes? But NO, for this work springs from the delirious oeuvre of Nobuhiko Obayashi, the fellow who gave us the frankly mental HOUSE. I’m delving into his world for work…

Every Obayashi film has a piano in it.

Once you get over the high weirdness of Obayashi’s ADHD style, the content here is fairly Marvel comics, with young adult soap opera merging with superheroics. The particularly Japanese elements — kendo tournaments, a fascination with schoolgirl panties — do add to the peculiarity for this western viewer, though. But in a way, this movie kind of reminds us how strange OUR culture’s fantasy life is.

Abstract climax in a floaty void with lots of ALTERED STATES type imagery. Obayashi’s raison d’etre, in a way, is creating pop culture emanations which tick the necessary genre boxes but are still perceived as weird even in his own culture. Weird but good. Teaching kids to enjoy weirdness is important work.

I says so!

The Jitters

Posted in FILM with tags , , , , on November 12, 2015 by dcairns

vlcsnap-2015-11-10-23h30m12s254

If you know the work of Norihuko Obayashi, it’s probably from his loony horror film, HAUSU. I was delighted to find his loony arthouse film, EMOTION, is just as loony. You can see for yourself at this link. Afterwards, you may need to lie down.