Friday, October 31, 2014

Fusen (1956)

Izumi Ashikawa and Tatsuya Mihashi
Almost all movies - and stories, for that matter - rely on conflicts. Conflicts between a man and a woman. Conflicts between civilization and nature. Conflicts between love and hate. Between courage and weakness, old and new, mighty and poor etc. These conflicts casually employ archetypes of many sorts, to reorient audience to the familiar path of narrative development. It helps to pose ethical theme, metaphysical theme, something meaningful without going into complex discourse of human interaction. One of the most popular device of conflict is that of generations. Teenagers look and act like bubble-headed egoists with a lot of knowledge about modern-day practicalities, while the older parents are stubborn pieces of exhausted mental capacities with a lot of knowledge about bygone day's impracticalities. And reconciliation at the end is the must. At the beginning of Fusen (Japanese for Balloon), it looks like another melodramatic tale of this sort of generation gap. A reserved, serious and gentle father, Haruki (Masayuki Mori) and his wayward, nihilistic son, Keikichi (Tatsuya Mihashi). But as the story unfolds, we realize it is not about generation, it is about empathy.

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Digital Amnesia (2014)



 (You can watch the full movie.)

Did you have an account at GeoCities? I am quite sure at least you have visited more than dozens of those sites, - personal blogs or hobby exhibition, or maybe just a few pages of family photos - and probably went on to something else, without even noticing the site was hosted at GeoCities, one of the largest hosting service at the time. In 1999, Yahoo! purchased this thriving service at staggering $3.57 billion, but it turned out to be not as lucrative a business as it had hope to be. Exactly 10 years after, Yahoo! announced its closure rather suddenly. Some of the users went panic, some lamented, most just decided to let it go, and there were those who didn't even notice their sites were deleted. But people at Internet Archive, Archive Team and others took it differently. They thought this was a part of our culture. If it were deleted, it would never be remembered. No one will recall how these GeoCities sites looked like back in 1999. So several teams of Internet archivists attempted to download the whole sites. The whole GeoCities. Now, you can browse the Internet life in 2000's at Archive Team or Geocities.ws or Wayback Machine.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Chi Wa Kawaiteru (1960)


In the dystopian world of Sidney Lumet's Network (1976), the death of the once-popular TV personality in front of camera is considered to be the best way to preserve corporate integrity in the face of fierce competition. The price of 'virtual' persona sometimes exceeds the price of person's physical life itself. The idea of a life insurance company exploiting a sensational image of death for marketing their products sounds very promising, but Yoshishige Yoshida's Chi Wa Kawaiteru (血は渇いてる, 1960) abandons the credibility and nuances in exchange for visual impact.