Ahoy, squirts! Quint here. How am I already in my third day of Fantasia? And how is it that I’ve not had a moment to even begin to write up the festival?
The great Mitch Davis and the just as great Stephanie Trepanier throw a helluva shindig up here… maybe too good of one since I find myself hanging out with film fans, random crazy people (I walked to a lunch with Udo Kier yesterday, for example) and fellow online writers (Brad Miska, Faraci and even JoBlo hisownself) instead of running straight home to write up the day’s movies.
Luckily I’m only a few movies behind as I write this opening, although I’m sure I won’t finish before I have to run out for a 5 movie day, but for now let’s stay positive. Last night I rewatched Attack the Block and it played just as great as it did the first time, way back at South By Southwest. There was also the fantastic short film The Legend of Beaver Dam that played before it and those two are magic together.
But before I allowed it and got my block attacked again I sat in on a crazy looking Japanese film called Milocrorze: A Love Story, which is essentially three different stories (and three completely different genres of filmmaking) that crash into each other over the course of 2 hours. With the energy of Survive Style 5+, the insanity of a Miike movie and the visual spectacle of something like Scott Pilgrim this flick was a giant ball of entertainment.
Story one is set in a Sweet Tarts colored fantasy world that reminded me a bit of The Little Prince. Young Ovreneli Vreneligare lives alone (if you don’t count his creepy giant CG cat), has trouble getting to work everyday because he’s, like, 7 years old and can’t fight for his spot on the train and is stuck in a repetitive cycle. Until he falls in love with the titular Milocrorze, an adult woman who sits next to him one day on a park bench.
It’s never acknowledged that this is weird, even when she moves in with the kid. They don’t do anything creepy (like Birth wrongness), but it’s still a relationship and one that is doomed not to ever work out.
Story two, by far my favorite features that above-pictured maniac, a disco-dancing counselor in all problems of the heart named Besson. There really is no big story here, just Besson being a berating prick to every single person who calls him… each caller getting possibly the worst relationship advice imaginable as Besson himself crosses over into their reality and enacts his particular brand of romance, all while calling the original caller a stupid loser.
Every time he wraps up his advice he celebrates by doing ridiculously choreographed dance numbers with half-naked girls.
Like I said, this was my favorite segment. It’s funny, it’s so far out there it might as well have been shot on the moon and it’s just nonstop craziness. Besson could support an entire movie just by himself.
Story three begins as Besson literally runs over a group of samurais in a fight to the death and we’re submerged into the longest of the stories, that of the revenge-seeking Tamon who has spent 4 years tracking down his kidnapped Yuri.
If story one was a children’s fantasy and story two was a slapstick comedy, then story three is a hard-edged revenge thriller, tonally bleak as we see Tamon fall in love with the beautiful flower girl, Yuri, challenge her abusive giant of a boyfriend (who was able to pull faces that made me think he’d be a perfect bad guy in a Big Trouble In Little China sequel) and finally win her over just in time to see her kidnapped and sold into a sex slavery ring.
The humor of the previous two stories is there, but in a much darker way. It wouldn’t surprise me if writer/director Yoshimasa Ishibashi was trying to go for a Kill Bill vibe, portraying the revenge-seeking samurai as a badass with a sword willing to go to all ends to find his love.
That includes a long, single slow-motion shot of Tamon ripping apart the whorehouse he’s tracked Yuri to. Now, this shot might be better in concept than execution, but it’s still a really gorgeous piece of ingenuity.
The energy of the film slows down considerably once we get to Tamon’s story, which is a problem when looking at the movie as a whole, but the story is compelling enough not to shake me loose as a viewer. I wish this section had a bit more snappy energy, but it’s not a movie killer.
Milocrorze is the kind of movie I hope to see at these kinds of festivals… there’s no way in hell this will see the light of day in US theaters… it’s just too bizarre and… well… too Japanese. And there’s no air of superiority to it, no pretension at all. The movie wants you to have a good time, it’s ridiculously silly and over-the-top to the point that I’m sure many more serious-minded viewers might not like it. But if you can give yourself over to Ishibashi’s demented vision of the world you’ll have a good time. At least I did.
If you want a glimpse of the insanity this movie offers ups, check out the trailer by clicking this link right here.
Yes, one down. Tons of more weird-ass movies to come! Check back for more Fantasia coverage!