Time for yet another look at what’s worth checking out at this year’s NYAFF. In this particular case, we’ve got two movies in which stars are not quite human…

If Cats Disappeared From the World

One of the New York Asian Film Festival’s key distinguishing characteristics is how it occasionally highlights movies that, for some, are a bit too much. I’m confident that the forthcoming The Tenants Downstairs will be the next great example of this. Which is why, every once in a while, during a screening you may hear someone in the theater audibly gasp. Either in shock or even disgust. In some rare cases, you may even hear the sound of someone gagging. But not so during If Cats Disappeared From the World; the only thing I could make out was sniffling. Lots of it. The film, based upon a novel of the same name, is about a young man who leads a fairly quaint existence; he loves his job, delivering mail for the friendly residents of some modest suburbia, as well as the cat that waits for him at the end of each day. He also loves feeding said cat and watching movies, apparently one everyday, provided by his best friend at the local video store. To some, the fresh-faced postman’s life is rather boring and mundane, yet he finds immense satisfaction in the simplest of pleasures, hence why he lives for the present and gives zero thought towards the future. Until a mysterious fall of his bike lands him in the hospital, where the postman learns that he has a malignant brain tumor and could drop dead at literally any moment. So basically, he has no future. Since there’s honestly not a whole lot that can be done, and given his priorities in life up till this point, the only thoughts that comes to mind are appropriately silly and inconsequential, like how many more movies will he be able to see before his number is up, and how it’s such a shame that he just stocked up on shampoo. Side note: lead actor Takeru Sato has some amazing hair that I’m legit jealous over.

Anyhow, the postman arrives home from the hospital to encounter… himself? Or someone who looks just like him. This doppelganger claims to be a devil of some sort and tells the postman that he will die tomorrow for sure, but is willing to grant one extra day if something from the world disappears without a trace. Ultimately it’s never the postman’s call and instead the devil simply makes the selection that our lead must simply deal with. The first thing suggested? Phones. The devil points out how they’re just nuisances that robs and squanders everyone’s time and attention, which may be true of cell phones, but all phones? The postman is given the chance to make one last call and it’s his ex. She works at a movie theater, and after work the following day, the former couple have a cup of coffee to reminisce over the good times. Turns out, telephones played a major part in their relationship; before they knew each other, she called his house while he was watching a movie, intending to reach another classmate. But because she recognized what he was watching via the sound alone, since she too is a film buff, they started hanging out. As for their dates, those were fun and all, but because the postman (well, before he was a postman, cuz he’s still in school at this point) is so shy when it comes to face-to-face interactions, he’d rather just talk on the phone. So they’d share these long, intimate conversations, and then both are too sleepy during their actual get-togethers. All of which vanishes once the devil decides to pull the trigger; despite the iffy CGI, it was fun watching the postman freak out, as he runs all over town and witnesses all signs of phones vanishing, like the local cell phone shop transforming into a book store. And because phones never exists, that chance wrong number was erased from history as well, along with the entire relationship that resulted.

And thus we are introduced to If Cats Disappeared From the World’s pattern; once the devil brings up the next everyday object that’s set to vanish, the postman is reminded of how vital a role it played in the story of his life. BTW, after phones are movies. Which aside from sealing the deal with his college girlfriend, are what got him talking to the quiet kid in the back of class in the first place, a huge film nerd and eventual best bud. Who also happens to be portrayed by Gaku Hamada, one of my favorite actors in Japan, and who I was introduced to via the films of Yoshihiro Nakamura, one of my favorite directors in Japan. Nakamura happens to be a flat out genius when it comes to telling tales about the deep human connections made possible via the most seemingly inconsequential of things, and If Cats Disappeared From the World feels a bit like one of this movies, albeit with the wackiness dialed back. Plus the whole notion of coming to terms with loneliness and death is presented in a fashion that’s more commonly seen in Japanese cinema these days, meaning it tries a bit too hard at pulling those heart-strings and is also at times rather heavy handed. Which I normally can’t stomach (as some may have noticed by now, I’m rather harsh when it comes to standards pertaining to movies from Japan), yet it totally works here, as evidenced by the fact that there was barely a dry eye in the house. The credit largely goes to the stellar cast, not just Sato and Hamada but everyone else on two legs, though the performance of those in one four legs is what everyone will gravitate towards the most. As one would expect, on the devil’s list of stuff to get rid off are cats, who played a very central role in terms of the postman’s relationship with his mom and his dad. I’ll say no more, other than I’m supremely confident that If Cats Disappeared From the World will win this year’s New York Asian Film Festival Audience Award. I give the movie my highest possible recommendation; it plays one more time, this Monday, June 27 at Lincoln Center, and if you can be there, then by all means, be there.

The Mermaid

The Mermaid is the latest and perhaps most successful film from Stephen Chow, at least when one looks purely at the numbers; it’s China’s highest grossing film of all time, last I checked (though that Warcraft movie may end up changing those box office records). Some will no doubt be disappointed to hear that Chow’s only behind the camera this time around, but given that he’s the film’s writer, producer, director, and composer (he actually did all that and was in front of the camera for Kung Fu Hustle, and perhaps discovered that it was a bit too much all at once), his presence is felt throughout. Some have also hailed that it as one of Chow’s finest efforts, though not to act like some film snob, but I have to wonder if these people are familiar with his earlier films; I used to claim God of Cookery is his best overall, though it largely resonated with me at the time cuz I was a diehard OG Iron Chef fan at the time, plus it’s been a while since I’ve seen it again. Though there is something I can agree with every other review I’ve read thus far; it’s insane how Sony did little to promote the movie when it first appeared in the US. Get this; The Mermaid actually came out in America earlier this year, with absolutely no fanfare.

The film is about Liu, a filthy rich real estate tycoon who is as scummy as those types tend to be. He purchases some land under the sea known as the Green Gulf, which is protected from any sort of development due to it being a dolphin sanctuary. So he comes up with a plan to utilize sonar technology that causes unbearable pain, as to drive them away, though it harms (actually, flat out kills) all sea life. Cut to the after party where Liu is celebrating and Ruolan, the daughter of one of his rivals, suggests that they become business partners, and well as sexual partners. When all of a sudden they’re interrupted by a party crasher, a young and semi-awkward woman who passes along her phone number to Liu, before getting kicked out. Her name is Shanshan btw and we then follow her home, which happens to be an abandoned oil tanker that’s inside the Green Gulf. There we discover that she’s no ordinary girl but a mermaid! Part of a tribe of merpeople, who are all simply referred to as mermaids, both the men and women, which secretly inhabit the Green Gulf. And who are also becoming ill thanks to Liu’s shenanigans, so the plan is this: once Liu is on a date Shanshan, she’ll just kill him and get their revenges.

Oh, and in case you were wondering, the reason why Shanshan can move around above the ground is because her tail got sniped, though it’s still a bit awkward for her to walk, hence why she prefers to get around with a skateboard. Anyhow, Liu does end up calling Shanshan up and their time together is rather awkward since they’re both act like fish out of water. And, as one may have also guessed, things don’t go according to plan due to the assassin falling for her target. Turns out Liu is a nice guy after all, which naturally upsets Shanshan’s people. Especially their leader, who instead of being half fish is half octopus, for mostly comedic effect; he ends up interacting with Liu and his posse by posing as Shanshan’s uncle, and at one point has to heat up and cut off parts of himself while also pretending to be a sushi chef, while tagging along Shanshan’s second date/attempt as assassination. I should perhaps point out that the film is very special effects laden, and I generally can’t stand CGI in most Asian cinema (I hate the overuse of CGI in Hollywood as well, but at least they have the money and resources to do it slightly better). Yet I didn’t mind it here, mostly due to the fact that the visual tricks are pretty essential. The most important thing here, especially given that it’s a Stephen Chow flick, is the humor and The Mermaid doesn’t go overboard with the gags but has just enough of Chow’s trademark absurdist comedy to make fans happy. There’s one scene in which Liu attempts to inform the authorities about the existence of mermaids, and their inability to figure out what half is human and what half is fish worth the price of admission alone. Alas, much like many other Chow flicks, it’s tonally all over the map and gets rather dark near the end, but given that it’s to send a message, one that’s primarily aimed at a country that has a rather checkered history as it pertains to the environment (to put it mildly, though it’s not as if China’s the sole offenders across the globe), it too can and should be excused. If you missed your chance to catch The Mermaid the first time around, which we all did, your next opportunity is Saturday, July 2 at Lincoln Center.

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My survey of the New York Asian Film Festival 2016 continues! What’s up next? Why, two films that are all about how wonderful one’s neighbor can be…

Creepy

As noted in festival reports past, I’m a fairly huge fan of Kiyoshi Kurosawa, largely due to the fact that whenever he tries to make a scary movie, it’s actually scary! Despite being widely regarded as an innovator of the genre, Kurosawa actually doesn’t make J-horror movies; he simply makes horror movies that happen to be from Japan. And Creepy is a fine return to form for those who have fond memories of his earliest output, like my personal favorite Cure. Once again our hero is a detective, Koichi, who retires early into his career after sustaining an on the job injury. So him and his young wife Yasuko move to the burbs, where he becomes a college professor, teaching criminal psychology. It’s a cushy gig, as well as a boring one, hence why Takakura allows himself to be wrapped up in an unsolved mystery from his past. At first Koichi is hesitant in helping a former colleague on the force finally crack one particular case after so many years, yet basically can’t help himself. It involves a family that seemingly vanishes in thin air, except their daughter, whose less than reliable memory is why it has remained unsolved in the first place.

Meanwhile, Yasuko tries her best to be a good neighbor and quickly discovers that everyone on their block is rude and stand off-ish. But then there’s the guy next door, who is just a total weirdo. Also, creepy. Nishino is his name, brilliantly portrayed by Teruyuki Kagawa, who was in the last J-horror flick that I actually enjoyed (Tormented, which was screened at Japan Cuts 2012). At first he appears to be socially awkward yet ultimately harmless, though before long it’s clear as day that he’s a sociopath top to bottom. Nishino has a wife that we never see (at first) and a daughter that’s oddly cool and aloof (but not like all teenage daughters around their dads). The first real sign of trouble is when she tells our hero that, “He’s not my father, he’s a total stranger.” A warning that should have been all that Koichi needed to cement Nishino as being more than just some odd fellow but a legit threat to himself and his dear wife. Yet it’s not, and that’s my issue with Creepy; despite borrowing a number of the same winning elements from Cure… i.e a determined yet somewhat inept man of the law facing off against a master manipulator, with foggy memories making the back and forth complicated… you also have character traits that’s rather foreign in a Kiyoshi Kurosawa flick. Specifically how Koichi and Yasuko are kinda dumb at times. Not infuriatingly stupid like those who populate most horror flicks. Plus the befuddling actions of Yasuko in particular (basically how she tries to be pals with Nishino, despite all the red flags) are designed to reinforce a primary argument that the film makes, which is how the most dangerous state of mind can be loneliness. The latter half reveals that the happy couple is, in fact, not very happy.

Nevertheless, there exists moments in which the audience knows better than the characters, again like in most other scary movies, and Kiyoshi Kurosawa’s are supposed to be better than that. Furthermore, elements that are not explained and which defy logic ends up feeling a bit contrived, such as how Yasuko comes to realize that the person behind the missing person’s case might be his neighbor! Not to say that everything in his movies always make sense, but a trademark of his is being told only what is absolutely necessary, with any lack of info related to reasoning excused via the unique atmosphere that is Kiyoshi Kurosawa’s true signature. Which ends up being lost as a consequence of of the slightly different approach; instead of things being all dark and gloomy, everything is bright and sunny, which actually helps to enhance the don’t believe what you’re seeing sentiment that’s pushed. For better or worse, whenever you try something that’s a bit more traditional, many of the preconceived notions and biases come along for the ride. Regardless of the issues, and like the very best the genre has to provide, instead of wanting the protagonist to die because he or she deserves death you end up ultimately rooting for Kagawa and are truly disgusted by Nishino’s actions. The film’s saving grace is its sense of humor, which is doled out in very controlled doses, like how the antics of rapists and murders in Japan can’t compare to those in America, cuz “They do everything bigger in the US!” In the end, even though I was disappointed by Creepy, I still enjoyed the hell out of it. Was even completely caught up in the ending, hook, line, and sinker, even though it was super predictable. Hence why I still recommend catching it next Wednesday, June 29 at Lincoln Center, especially for those not familiar with Kiyoshi Kurosawa. Just be sure to catch Cure via Hulu afterward.

The Tenants Downstairs

The Tenants Downstairs is this year’s NYAFF Closing Night presentation, and boy oh boy, what a perfect choice. I could discuss at length as to why the NYAFF is so vastly and absurdly superior to all the other film festivals out there, especially in the city (speaking as someone who is profoundly over NYC and actively looking to get the hell out of dodge, it’s seriously one of the few remaining reasons why I’e stuck around). But my favorite is how it consistently showcases movies that will actually make you say “Holy f’n shit, I cannot believe I just saw that.” Others promise such a reaction, but the NYAFF actually delivers. So where to begin? The film’s absurd; at times you won’t believe what you’re seeing. It’s grotesque; at times you’ll want to look away. It’s gorgeous; at times you won’t be able to look away. It’s problematic; at times what you observe will make you angry. Some may view the movies as a work of genius, others will believe it’s total trash. There will no doubt be those who think both. It’s hard to say how you’ll react, but here’s one prediction I’m 100% confident in making: rest assured you’ve rarely seen anything like The Tenants Downstairs.

The great Simon Yam plays a landlord who keeps extremely close tabs on all his residents, via security cameras that are hidden in each apartment. Regarding those whose privacy he loves invading, you’ve got: a single father with elementary school aged daughter, a young man who is fairly well built thanks to his job as gym teacher, a young woman who is fairly flirtatious and constantly banging coworkers, a gay couple who are totally in love though it’s more of an affair for one since he’s also married with children, a loser college kid that does nothing but play video games and read tons of comics, and finally a very mysterious woman in white. The landlord keeps tab in every single detail of everyone’s lives, some intimate, other mundane, often a mix of both. Yet the woman in white is literally a blank piece of paper; he ends up taking virtually no notes since there’s ultimately nothing to write about. At any rate, the landlord is essentially all-seeing eye of God, who simply kicks back and enjoys the show that his subjects unknowingly perform for him, day in and day out, via the silly routines that they are stuck in. And he’s never gotten involved until something happens to shake his worldview; the woman in white brings some dude back to her place where she tortures him to death. This freaks him out, but not enough to call the cops. He soon starts to enjoy this all new, all different kind of show, and later has an interaction with it star, in which she states her desire to live a life less ordinary. It’s at this point the landlord comes up with a brilliant idea: to totally mess with his subjects!

Things start small, like feeding everyone (all the residents eat dinner together, which is rather old fashioned yet how it’s still done in Taiwan, which is where the film originates) parts of the murdered dude. Yes, that’s starting small in this movie. Soon the landlord starts to play individualized tricks, and at least one of them is kinda funny? Maybe? The loser wants to believe that he can develop super powers, mostly to bend spoons with his mind, but also cause wind to blow women’s skirts upwards. Whereas the landlord manages to convince the huge dork that he has the ability to teleport, by constantly drugging the guy, and once he’s out, stripping and leaving him somewhere foreign. Apparently when teleporting, one’s clothes do not come along for the trip. Though all the other tricks the landlord plays are not nearly as cute; he leaves foreign pubic hair lying around the gay couple’s place, to arouse suspension that there’s another man. For the single dad, the landlord hides stuff that makes him super horny… with his young, looking around 5 year old daughter around. As for the gym teacher, he comes across keys to everyone’s apartment that the landlord had “lost” and which are (as intended) used to break into the sexy office worker’s apartment, first to enjoy an up close view of the action as she screws some other dude while hidden, and later to basically sexually assault her, which she’s totally into. Hey, I did say the film was problematic.

All that before the landlord becomes even more bored and starts intermingling everyone even further. The ending is just absolutely bonkers, and as noted, you will at times have a difficult time comprehending if what you’re witnessing is indeed what you are witnessing. The Tenants Downstairs is billed as a film that recalls “the golden age of Category III”, and it’s truth. I cannot recommend the movie enough, though I cannot stress enough that one must proceed with caution as well. For those who are brave and bold, it runs the final night of the festival, which is Saturday, July 9 at the SVA Theatre.

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Attention fellow denizens of the Big Apple; once again, it’s the most wonderful time of the year! No, not Christmas (though Xmas in NYC is pretty damn nice); am talking about the New York Asian Film Festival! And for the 15h summer in a row, ASIAN FILMS ARE GO…

And as usual, I’ll do my best to be your tour guide; for those in New York City, these are the movies you should be spending money towards instead of that Ghostbusters reboot. Even if it ends up being decent, you’ll have your chance to see it on Netflix eventually, whereas in the case of some (perhaps most) of the films I’ll be touching upon, this may be your best (and only) bet to catch them. As for those of you who aren’t in New York City, um, sorry?

So, what’s up first? Well, two indie classics from Japan. One of which somewhat contradicts my sales pitch, since it is widely available, whereas the other, despite being super influential, is something I’m confident most have not even heard of…

Swallowtail Butterfly

The recipient of this year’s New York Asian Film Festival Lifetime Achievement Award is Iwai Shunji, with three of his movies being showcased. And Swallowtail Butterfly is to this year’s NYAFF as Nobuhiko Obayashi’s House was to the festival in 2009. In the sense that, here we have yet another legitimately groundbreaking/profoundly influential motion picture that hardly anyone outside of its homeland has ever heard of. The NYAFF states that it occupies “pretty much the same cultural territory in Japan that Pulp Fiction occupies in America”, and even though I’m not intimately familiar with Japanese cinema that immediately preceded its debut (in 1996; yes, exactly 20 years ago), I have seen much that came after so it’s amazing to view perhaps the one single film most responsible for the look and feel of late 90s/early 00s Japanese cinema as a whole. And while I doubt it’ll become as celebrated in the West as House ended up being, I can still easily imagine Swallowtail Butterfly being embraced thanks to being so ahead of the curve, especially all the points made regarding multiculturalism.

Taking place in an alternate near future, the Yen has become the world’s most sought after currency, prompting a massive influx of immigrants to Japan. The outsiders live in shantytowns that surround the major cities called Yen Towns, and the xenophobic Japanese refer to these outsiders as Yen Thieves. Though the more commonly used term is Yet Towns as well, which sounds confusing, but there’s actually a reason behind this, one that’s never explained (though if you’re curious, Google is your friend). The story begins with the death of a Chinese prostitute, who leaves behind an unnamed daughter; not only do they pillage whatever money she had managed to save, the dead mother’s associates also end being piss poor caretakers. Eventually the girl with no name ends up with a Chinese prostitute with a heart of gold, Glico, who ends up being a proper guardian. One of Glico’s first kindhearted gestures is coming up with a name for her ward: Ageha, or “swallowtail butterfly”. Glico also introduces Ageha to Fei-hong, who leads a pack of equally warm and fuzzy hustlers; by day he’s orchestrating small time cons and by night he’s serving food and drinks to fellow Yen Towners.

Things officially kick off into high gear when a customer of Glico’s steps over the line and ends up falling out of her apartment window, then crushed by a garbage truck. While disposing of the body, the gang discovers an audiocassette tape that appears to just be a recording of Frank Sinatra’s “My Way” and only that. Turns out, there’s data hidden that fools ATMs into believing a 1,000-yen note is a 10,000-yen note. So the change that results is a 9,000-yen profit, and what does Fei-hong do with his newfound riches? Why, open a nightclub in the heart of the city, where the Yentown flavor is the main dish. The audition for the house band is when we encounter the only other individual, aside from Ageha, who best personifies Swallowtail Butterfly’s essence in its purest form. That being a smooth talking white guy who, aside from having no name as well, gives the aforementioned Yentown flavor a specific name: “Third Culture Music”. He also dub themselves “Third Culture Kids”; his story is how his parents were American, but he was born and raised in Japan, and thanks to abysmal educational system, so he wonders out loud who he is exactly, American or Japanese, given that he’s always treated like a foreigner by looks alone, despite growing up in Japan and considers nowhere else to be “home” (much like Ageha).

It’s also worth pointing out that pretty much every Yentowner/Third Culture Kid speaks multiple languages, yet that still doesn’t mean everyone understands each other; Fei-hong, for example, is from China and often uses English to converse, even with fellow Chinese, yet doesn’t understand a word of Japanese, which means Ageha has to serve as translator. Anyhow, Fei-hong’s master plan is to make Glico a pop singing sensation (did I mention that she’s portrayed by an actual Japanese pop star?) and the plan totally works. As well as predictably backfires; the record company decide to take control of their star by shedding that less than desirable Yentown image, and also enacts a plan to get her boyfriend/manager out of the picture (yup, Fei-hong is her bf). Starting here in which the narrative kinda gets unwieldy; Ageha at this point is also the leader of a bunch of street kids, who had previously tried bullying her, and she ends up overdosing on drugs. It’s nothing more than a set up for her to cross paths with the gangster with a heart of gold, Ryou Ryanki, who’s on the hunt for that missing tape with the valuable counterfeit info. Thankfully the movie lets the audience know early on that Ryou and Glico are siblings that were separated in their youth, cuz a reveal towards the end would have been a real groaner.

Though the film is chock full of other cliches, as well as mighty heavy-handed at times, though I honestly don’t believe it’s substantially worse than what you find in Japanese cinema across the board. As is often the case, it’s all in the details; one can’t help but admire an independent production with a modest budget’s attempt to churn out an epic, and more or less succeeds. Thanks to some brilliant camerawork and deft art direction, though it helps that I appreciate the MTV’s 120 Minutes esthetic that is either intentionally or unintentionally tapped into; Swallowtail Butterfly is both ahead of its time plus a sign of its times. What ultimately helps the most is the colorful cast, one that saves the movie’s ass more than a few times. Like the unnamed doctor who first takes care of Ageha’s overdose and later provides a butterfly tattoo similar to Glico’s; the entire scene, in which Ageha recalls her earliest memory and has a rather eye-rolling epiphany, is still worth a damn thanks to the fine acting chops of the real life 50s rock star Mickey Curtis. In the end, Swallowtail Butterfly has issues; here we have yet another on the money description from the NYAFF: “seeing it today is like re-reading your high-school diary: the way it wears its heart on its sleeve can be cringe-inducing…” Though on a more serious note is the sensation that the film is a tad bit problematic, which others have discussed at length, specifically the way it fetishizes the plight of immigrants more than anything else. Yet I can’t help but buy into its youthful energy, while also forgive its naiveté; it’s so easy to see why the movie had such a massive impact. For those interested, it’s playing Saturday, June 25 at Lincoln Center.

Tetsuo: The Iron Man

I was originally going to review the other oldie by goodie by Iwai Shunji being shown at the Festival, All About Lily Chou-Chou, perhaps the filmmaker’s most celebrated work. Unfortunately I just couldn’t get into it. Sorry, but I’ve simply seen way far many movies about school kids treating each other like sh*t (a genre that the Japanese has absolutely mastered) to give another a shot. Even if it’s one of the finest according to the critics. Though alongside Swallowtail Butterfly’s 20th anniversary screening is a another film that’s serving as the poster child of the NYAFF’s 15th anniversary celebratory screening; as important Swallowtail Butterfly might be to the world of Japanese cinema, it could be easily argued that Tetsuo: The Iron Man’s impact and influence is far, far greater, not just at home but across the globe. The fact that there’s a decent chance that many reading this has seen it already is proof positive. Though I also take for granted that everyone’s familiar, so here we are!

Now, if Swallowtail Butterfly is the Pulp Fiction of the Japanese cinematic landscape, then Tetsuo: The Iron Man is either its Eraserhead or Videodrome, with a dash of Evil Dead 2. And that’s kinda all that needs to be said, though I’ll go on. First you have a guy, identified as the metal fetishist, who inserts a rod into his leg and later freaks out when noticing maggots in the wound (I would too, to be totally fair). While running down the street the fetishist is hit by a car, and behind the wheel is the salaryman. Who, along with his girlfriend, decide to dump the body in the woods. Then they immediately afterwards have sex right, there on the spot, in front of the body. Bad move! Cuz that’s how one invites a curse. Later the salaryman, while shaving, notices a small piece of metal on his cheek… not pierced into flesh, but coming out. Thus his troubles officially begin.

What follows is the salaryman being chased by a woman whose body has been taken over by the metal fetishist, and then a dream in which his gal pal is similarly transformed, whose newly formed snake like appendage is used to sodomize him. Afterwards the couple has sex, naturally, and then eat some sausages, again naturally. It’s at this point in which the salaryman discovers that a drill has replaced his penis; sadly, his girlfriend doesn’t survive. The metal fetishist then shows up, and as the salaryman slowly transforms, the two face off in a showdown that is as amazing as one could ever hope. Aside from the legit greatest final lines in a motion picture, ever, the very video game-like exclamation marks gets a big thumbs up from me also. Tetsuo is a classic in every sense of the word and deserves a serious look, even for those familiar. Cuz there’s a 95% chance the last time you saw it was during college on a sh*tty dorm room TV or at a bar on their slightly less sh*tty television. Whereas certain elements of Swallowtail Butterfly has not held up (as noted previously, an affinity for 90s music videos is a perquisite), boy oh boy has Tetsuo: The Iron Man aged like fine wine (the B&W 16mm visuals simply gorgeous, resulting in a genuine timeless quality; Tetsuo looks like it was either shot in 1950 or last week). Can’t wait to see it on the big screen at long last, this Saturday, June 25 at Lincoln Center as well.

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