Saturday 2 June 2012

"Himizu" (The Guardian 01/06/12)

Himizu (18) 129 mins ****

This is the film that confirms Japanese provocateur Sion Sono (Love Exposure) as modern cinema’s foremost speed-poet – a Godard of the East, perhaps. Sono was adapting a popular manga – concerning a teenager’s thwarted desire to live as peacefully as the humble himizu (“mole”) – when the 2011 tsunami struck the Japanese mainland. Mobilising a rapid-response film crew, he’s captured not only staggering images that exemplify our beaten-up, tumbledown world, but what may become one of the great themes of our time: how the young will bear the yoke of elders who’ve been wiped out – financially, geographically, emotionally – by recent events. Sono retains his go-for-the-throat approach, but the violence here somehow connects with the brutal economic conditions, and he fosters very tender, affecting performances from Shota Sometani and Fumi Nikaido as his crushed young lovers. Cinema, Carnage – and Compassion – with a capital C. 

Himizu is on selected release.

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