I’ve been slacking off about getting this particular list down and posted, but with film news being quite slow outside of Oscar-related items I thought it was time to get my lazy ass to get this done. Some of the titles I’ll mention are favorite films of 2010 for me while others only made it onto the list not because I liked or even enjoyed them, but they were just well-executed and made.
A couple of the titles I’ve listed also made their premiere’s in their home country earlier than 2010, but it wasn’t until this past year that they were shown here in the U.S. thus it qualifies as a 2010 for me. For those who have seen the very final title on my list should know that this is one title that I definitely didn’t find entertaining at all, but found it to be as daring and as subversive as another film made decades before it which received similar negative reactions from many: Pier Paolo Pasolini’s Salo.
This 2001 film by Takashi Miike has to count as one of the most peculiarly disturbing films I have ever seen. Takashi Miike has been called the Japanese Quentin Tarantino, but that is an understatement. While Tarantino has made a career out of showing violence in his films, but hyperstylizes them that at times they seem to be exploitive. Miike doesn’t go for subtlety in how he approaches violence and sex in his films which marks him as a much more dangerous filmmaker than Tarantino could ever hope to be.
Visitor Q (Bizita Q in Japan) is Miike’s take on the nature of violence and sex that has permeated the media with a nod towards reality TV. This film was especially revelant since it was filmed and first shown in Japan. This is a nation and culture that blames the West for its decadence and immorality when at the same time its entertainment industry churns out anime, manga and films that put Western entertainment to shame, i.e. tentacles and more tentacles and, when all else fails, more tentacles.
The plot is simple and straightforward. A failed former TV reporter tries to provide for his family by filming a documentary concerning the effects of violence and sex on the youth of today. The rest of the film from there ends up showing this father’s dysfunctional family involved in heavy drug abuse, their indifference to violence around them, incest, necrophilia, and a few other things I don’t even know the name for.
Bizita Q is a film that Marquis De Sade would have found very close to his libertine heart and ideals. But despite the disturbing images and sequences in this film, Miike does make a good point about the subject of sex and violence in the media and its effect on youth and just people in general. After awhile, those I was watching the film with stopped turning their face from the screen and began watching the film without flinching. This is a film that is definitely not for everybody, but if you are brave enough and have the stomach for it, Miike’s film is a good study in gross excess and surrealism in film. He straddles between fine art and extreme exploitation, and after the first few minutes falls on the latter, revels and doesn’t apologize.
Miike definitely is not Japan’s Tarantino, but he’s definitely much closer to being Japan’s own Pasolini.