Monday, August 24, 2020

Best of 1995

The end

EVERY film is guaranteed to have one, somewhere between the last explosive climax (nuclear chemical sexual) and the final crawl of credit. Prophets with placards declare its proximity: so do churches, religious sects--anyone with a vested interest in it and what happens after. All good things come to one eventually; you have one, I have one, everyone has one. It can be as remote as the universe’s edge, as close as the tip of your nose.

Welcome to The End; in this particular case, of the year’s crop of films. Has it been a good year or bad? 

Thursday, August 13, 2020

Japan Sinks (Masaaki Yuasa, 2020)

Japan rises

Once again Masaaki Yuasa put out an anime series (Japan Sinks 2020, available on Netflix--actually his second after the delightful Keep Your Hands Off Eizouken!) and once again he flouts the expectations of both fans of his work and fans of disaster movies. This time though Yuasa may have fashioned not just a quietly subversive disaster epic but the fictional narrative summing up our feelings about this disaster of a year 2020.

Where the source novel (by Sakyo Komatsu) focused on government efforts to cope with the cataclysm Yuasa (with co-director Pyeon-gang Ho and writer Toshio Yoshitaka adapting) focuses on the common folk struggling to stay alive. Where the novel had mostly Japanese characters the series makes an effort to include a more diversified cast: wife and mother Mari Muto is from Cebu, Philippines; popular YouTube celebrity KITE is from Estonia; hitchhiker and amateur magician Daniel is from Kosovo; submarine pilot turned research scientist Onodera--who predicted Japan's downfall--is a paraplegic (a source of unspoken embarrassment in everyday Japanese society).