Archive for the video Category

Review – Funeral Parade of Roses [薔薇の葬列]

Posted in cinema, clockwork orange, mod, reviews/opinions, video with tags , , on April 18, 2008 by reccaphoenix

fp2

Funeral Parade of Roses (1969, Japan) dir. Toshio Matsumoto.  Feature film.  B&W, 35mm.

(Japanese title “bara no souretsu” 薔薇の葬列)

Funeral Parade of Roses tells a twisted, doubled, postmodern Oedipus Rex story with Japan’s gay bars as the setting. The main character, Eddy (played brilliantly here by the actor Peter), a beautiful transvestite, strives for a better position at the gay bar in which he works. However, as he gets closer and closer to displacing his “mama-san” Leda (Osamu Ogasawara), flashbacks from his violent past become more and more frequent. Eddy finds himself involved with a group of druggies and experimental filmmakers that includes the mysterious Guevara (Toyosaburo Uchiyama) along the way.

But reducing this film to such a simple “plot” summary does it no justice. I can’t even begin to describe the amazing structure of the film, which uses documentary footage, parody sequences, postmodern pastiche, and a non-linear timespace structure to create a mesmerizing yet disheartening material world. The movie also involves several films-within-a-film: a documentary, Guevara’s art films, and possibly another film very similar to Funeral Parade. At any one time, are we watching a fiction film, a documentary, or some kind of “metafilm?” And are the characters meant to be taken seriously? The line between art, protest, and ridiculous nonsense becomes blurred, and we find it difficult to discern what we are meant to see in any one scene. Leda primps in her evil queen mirror.

The film references multiple sources of all types, whether through movie posters on the street or direct visual cues. For example, the “evil” boss Leda is often seen in a mirror like the evil queen in Snow White. As you can see from the image, the black-and-white cinematography is absolutely gorgeous.

Speaking of references, I noticed several cinematic techniques that closely, closely resemble those used in certain scenes of A Clockwork Orange, which was made two years later. These similarities will be the subject of a later article.

Fans of the 1960s will love this film, it has everything from mod clothes to go-go dancing to drug-addled parties. The documentary sequences, when they can be discerned, also offer an interesting look into the time period.

Peter’s acting is fantastic between Eddy’s present and past selves, as well as the coy/dangerous dichotomy that dictates his actions.

Many scenes seem out-of-place or not part of the film at all…until we cut to the next scene and realize what they were. Constantly sorting out the film’s broken-up timespace, exploring Eddy’s past and present, we are disoriented, yet the film’s plot still comes through. Similarly, the multiple “references” to other works don’t have to be understood or registered for one to enjoy the film, although they certainly add deeper dimensions to one’s appreciation of its complexities. A wonderful balance of experimentalism-disorientation and dramatic plot moments is created.

fp1

However, breaks from the “main” narrative in the form of drug parties and multiple scenes of parties at the gay bar take away a lot from the film. They are fun and ridiculous to watch, but go on for too long and for

too many scenes. It’s an interesting “realist” break from a strict narrative (which does reach a resolution), along with the film’s many dangling plot threads, but just like the pot party scene in Blow-Up, it only makes me feel impatient. The same issue is present in the sex scenes – there are too many of them and they go on for too long. It’s very funny to hear the disjointed carnival music used throughout the film ironically enter and exit during parts of these “love scenes,” but it feels as if the point could be made in one or two shorter scenes. What we do see is in extreme close-up, difficult to discern, and very uncomfortable. But perhaps, knowing this, Matsumoto deliberately drew these scenes out to excess.

Thus the “pointlessness” of these scenes and my impatience just shows how far I am from the era and from the real message of this film – that there is no message, that ultimately the line between parody and drama is almost nonexistent.

Rating: 9/10

Availability: The UK DVD and Japanese DVD (both region 2) both have English subtitles. Unfortunately there is no Region 1 DVD for the USA yet, but for those with region-free players….you know what to do >: )

Trailer: http://youtube.com/watch?v=-nY9hXSumMU

Antonioni’s “Blow-Up” cited in Amerie music video

Posted in advertising, cinema, mod, music, shameless parody, video with tags , , , , , on March 16, 2008 by reccaphoenix

Blow-Up is my favorite movie of ALL TIME. Like all great movies, there’s always a case or two of people paying tribute to, or just plain copying it. So, for those of you who have also seen this awesome film, check out this music video for Amerie‘s song “Take Control”:

Note the use of “cutout” lettering, used in the title sequence of Blow-Up.

The scenes with the fashion photographer are very much like those in Blow-Up, especially the backgrounds. There is even a “close your eyes” segment.

Amerie taking the “Senator” to the park to assassinate him echoes the park scene in Blow-Up (visually, at least), and so does Amerie’s retrieval of the incriminating film reel.

Here is the park scene from Blow-Up:

and here is the trailer for the film.

So….yeah, they over-simplify everything in the Amerie video, but to tell you the truth, I was happy just to see that someone remembers this film and can throw it back into pop culture, even if only some 1-odd% of the MTV audience even KNOWS what film is being referenced.

New Mod Film “Flawless”

Posted in advertising, cinema, mod, video with tags , , , , on February 14, 2008 by reccaphoenix

modreccaI heard about Flawless, a new jewel heist movie that’s coming out soon, and was quite excited 🙂 , seeing as how it’s set in London in 1960!

http://www.apple.com/trailers/magnolia/flawless/trailer/

A little before the mod period, but still very stylish and modern 😉

Here’s another connection to mod that isn’t so apparent – Michael Caine, who plays the old janitor in this movie, was in a famous mod film called Alfie, remade in ’07 with Jude Law.  He’s known for not trying to hide his working-class accent (even though that’s exactly what he did in his first big film, Zulu, where he played a pretentious officer).

I like heist movies (my favorite is Rififi) so I think this should be a pretty awesome film.

Hahaha, Malcolm McDowell on Conan O’Brien

Posted in cinema, clockwork orange, fun stuff to do, television, video with tags , , , , , , , on November 28, 2007 by reccaphoenix

This is great! Malcolm McDowell talks all about playing Alex.

“The only redeeming feature of Alex is that he listens to Beethoven”

“Oh, I thought his only redeeming feature was that he wears a bowler.”

HAHAHA…

Part II of the interview was here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BB3hFBABf7M

Conan doesn’t forget to ask all about the infamous “Caligula” as well. >: )

Incredibly Funny…Kubrick parodies

Posted in animation, cinema, clockwork orange, fun stuff to do, shameless parody, video with tags , , , , , , , , , , on November 5, 2007 by reccaphoenix

Something I found randomly on youtube.

New Clockwork Orange DVD, super-special edition!

Posted in cinema, clockwork orange, merchandise, video with tags , , , , , , , , , on October 15, 2007 by reccaphoenix

orangeav.jpgWell, I already own the cheapass first release of A Clockwork Orange (one of my top 10 favorite movies). I really want the new special special edition that’s coming out on October 23rd. Of course, I’ll probably have to wait until the holidays to get it, my DVD funds are a bit low because of those Vampires manga I bought from Japan.

They are releasing 2Disc special sets of The Shining and 2001: A Space Odyssey as well. And for all you HD people, they are putting these sets in Bluray and HD-DVD also. Despite being a huge film nerd, I don’t have an HD System yet. I’m waiting to see which one “wins out” because I have a feeling this is gonna be like VHS and Betamax.
Anyway, the DVD is supposed to be in 5.1 Surround…….so we’ll get to hear those sweet Wendy Carlos tracks in glorious Dolby. It also features commentary by Alex…er…Malcolm McDowell (obviously we can’t get a director commentary) which should prove very interesting considering the surprising number of harmful experiences he had while filming Orange (i.e. almost drowning during the trough scene, nearly going blind from the false eyelash irritation…) I can’t wait to hear it. Also, the DVD is supposed to have some featurettes about the making of the film. Hooray!

I think this sounds like a pretty horrorshow DVD release, and I’m looking forward to it. >: D

Follow-up post: when I got the actual DVD.

My First Trailer Remix: “Alex DeLarge’s Day Off”

Posted in cinema, clockwork orange, shameless parody, video with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on July 14, 2007 by reccaphoenix

I just finished my first trailer remix ^_^! It makes “A Clockwork Orange” into an ’80s teen comedy like “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off.” The music is “Bye Bye My Crisis” by the Knight Sabers and “Modern Love” by David Bowie. Enjoy and let me know what you think.

I apologize in advance to Stanley Kubrick and Anthony Burgess, I love you guys and your film and books! This is a parody and nothing more.