Thursday, April 12, 2012

HIMIZU (2011, Sion Sono, A++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++)

This film truly understands what I feel. I want to screen HIMIZU together with BANG-KERD-KLOAW (2011, Kamontorn Eakwattanakij) and CRY IN SILENCE (2006, J. G. Biggs).

BANG-KERD-KLAOW deals with the violence in family like HIMIZU and CRY IN SILENCE. All the three films are very intense and dramatic. In BANG-KERD-KLAOW, which is based on true events like CRY IN SILENCE, the protagonist is a handsome high-school boy whose father likes to beat up the family members. One day the protagonist can't bear it anymore, so he runs away from home and ends up living with a middle-class family of a female friend. There's no reconciliation between him and his father at the end of the film, and this is very important, because I think 95% of Thai films which deal with family problems end with reconciliation.

The kindness that the hero in BANG-KERD-KLAOW receives from people outside his own family also reminds me of the kindness that the hero in HIMIZU receives from his backyard community of displaced people.

HIMIZU is the first film of Sion Sono that I saw, after having heard his name for a while. Now I kind of understand why he is famous. HIMIZU reminds me a little bit of the feelings I got while watching CRUEL STORY OF YOUTH (1960, Nagisa Oshima). It's the feeling of staring into the abyss of teenagers' souls.

(spoilers alert)

Another thing I like very much in HIMIZU is the various principles of many characters. The hero of HIMIZU doesn't intend to kill "any people", but only bad people. The heroine of HIMIZU, while falling in love totally with the hero, refuses to be silent about his crime, and that makes her different from comparable characters portrayed by Isild Le Besco in RIGHT NOW (2004, Benoît Jacquot) and ROBERTO SUCCO (2001, Cédric Kahn). The yakuza boss is also a gray character. The former company president seems to have his own principles when he commits a robbery. I also like a minor character--a nearly naked woman who seems to be abused and tortured by a bad guy, but it turns out that she may be masochistic. The woman in the bus also has her own principle, but it is arguably the wrong principle. She refuses a vacant seat offered by a woman, but tries to humiliate a man who doesn't want to give a seat.

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