Archive for October 6th, 2012

aka My God, My God Why Hast Thou Forsaken Me?

The year is 2015 and the population of the planet has been badly hit by a virus known as Lemming Syndrome. The virus attacks the optic nerve of the brain with the result that it makes people committ suicide. The virus threatens to kill nearly 40% of the Earth’s population. There is no known cure but a wealthy man has heard that the music of a duo of experimental noise rock musicians going by the name of Steppit Fetchit (consisting of Mizui and Asuhara) somehow alleviates sufferers of the virus. He thinks his grandaughter may be infected. She saw both her parents kill themselves. With the aid of a detective, they take her and search for the duo in the hope that listening to their music will cure her of the virus.

This is a movie in which you’ll know in the first 15 mins whether you’ll like it or get bored and turn it off. I suspect many will get bored due to the movie’s simplistic storyline and deliberate slow pace. It’s a beautiful movie to watch filled with desolate scenery, minimal dialogue and awesome sounds. The title of the movie is derived from the final words that Jesus said on the cross in Aramaic. The first half of the movie consists of Steppin Fetchit roaming the landscape going about their business making music using whatever materials they manage to scavenge in people’s homes such as fans, cables etc. There’s a great scene in which we get to see Mizui using a violin bow and a metal rod that produces some extraordinary sounds. We get to see glimpses of the havoc that Lemming Syndrome is causing – a man who has shot himself in the head and another seen hanging from a lamppost but rather than dwelling on the horrors that the virus is causing, the story concentrates on the cure instead namely the music by Mizui and Asuhara. The music by Steppit Fetchit is interesting and different to what I would usually listen to – an acquired taste methinks. Let’s just say it wouldn’t set the music charts alight!! Near the climax of the movie there’s a long 10 min sequence of Asano playing his guitar with other various noises mixed in. The scene does go on for too long but it’s fascinating nevertheless to hear. It makes you wonder though how can such extreme music cause symptoms of a deadly virus to stop in its tracks?

I could not see anybody else but Tadanobu Asano taking the lead character in this kind of movie, it’s right up his street. He plays the usual silent and disconnected person which we’ve seen from previous roles. I’ve always respected him for the fact that in the past he ignored taking parts in mainstream Japanese movies and chose challenging and off-beat roles instead. Many will say he’s perhaps sold out these days especially when he took a part in the awful movie Battleship. Popular actress Aoi Miyazaki plays the granddaughter who questions why should she bother fighting the virus when everybody dies eventually though she does go on to say later on that she wants to stay alive. It’s not the best performance I’ve seen from her but she more than adequate in her role.

On paper the movie could have been boring because there’s no action or suspense going on but in the capable hands of director Shinji Aoyoma he has created a beautiful and visually stunning movie that proper movie fans will surely appreciate. I enjoyed watching Aoyoma’s near 4 hour black and white epic Eureka last year so I have yet to be disappointed with his work. Hope to see more of his movies in the near future.

I thought it was a very unique experience watching this arty movie and you won’t see anything else like it out there that’s for certain. Those with an appreciation of noise rock music will certainly enjoy it. To the majority of Asian movie fans, this will be a major test of patience.

Sadako’s Rating: 3.5 stars out of 5

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