Despite my schizophrenic posting habits, I actually do adore writing about movies. Most of this is usually confined to one of the two forums I post on. Unfortunately, I do prompt as many discussions as I would like because of the people involved. Now, there are interesting topics discussed on each forum (one far more than the other), but my apprehension and apathy comes into play when I realize people only either want to elevate the ‘middlebrow’ or be really serious about really serious cinema.
One of my chief complaints about the cinephiles that I’ve had the pleasure and dis-pleasure of being in contact with is the fact that they largely only want to seriously engage in a topic if it is covering some serious material. The only two exceptions to this rule that I see are when the topics are either satirical or it dives into surrealist imagery. Because for some odd reason, surrealism is taken more seriously in cinematic art than in any other type of imagery in cinema. Well, there is also a third exception, and those are comedy silent films like Charlie Chaplin and Buster Keaton which have recently(ish) been brought back into the cannon. My inner snark tells me this has more to do with the idea of ‘found art’ more than the pieces themselves. Hopefully I’m wrong, but otherwise comedy is genuinely lacking from most film cannons. The most troubling aspect of this for me is because these people who usually turn up their nose at the very idea of discussing any non-serious film actually feign outrage and wish to burn down established ivory towers. This is presumably to erect their own.
Enough with the generalities though, I should get into some specific examples of what I wish to discuss but would probably be scoffed at (defeatist attitude). For example, I would be curious to hear other people’s thoughts on the fact that Kinji Fukasaku ended his career with the film Battle Royale. Now, what makes this movie interesting to me is not only the fact that it is essentially the beginning in the current trend of Japanese Youth Problem (insert Sion Sono’s career here) films that have been coming out in the past decade, but also because Fukasku was also part of another generation of Japanese Youth Problems. He was a child of WWII era Japan. He deals with the war directly in Under the Flag of the Rising Sun and his segment in Tora! Tora! Tora!. What is most interesting to me about his filmography however, are his Yakuza films which take place near directly after the war where many parts of Japan were essentially run by Japan prior to the reconstruction. What makes it difficult to start this discussion is that Battle Royale is too connected to Quentin Tarantino and a certain brand of film fans hate almost everything in connection with him that has come out since his career begun. Also, people don’t take it seriously is because not only was it based on a manga, it also has the ‘misfortune’ of being stylized like a manga. This kills any hopes of serious discussion between connecting the two generations. The existential crisis between what the Japanese youth want to do today and how the Japanese youth confronted and coped with Hiroshima is still something I would like to explore, but it seems like it is something that I would have to do in my own time and to myself.