Tuesday, 25 March 2014

Cinema's finest moments #2

Ken'ichi Endô shoots smack so he can remove himself from a dead girl (Visitor Q, 2001)

A Takashi Miike film is like a harsh noise gig in the basement of a massage parlour. It's sleazy, dangerous, and leaves your senses curled up in the foetal position, drenched in piss. I've always had nothing but praise for Miike and everything he's done for cinema, he's been a huge inspiration for my own writing and always will be, but sometimes (Actually, most of the time) a Miike film can cross boundaries that you didn't even know you'd etched into your brain.

Visitor Q is one of my all time favourite films. You could say that it was a huge inspiration for the French New Extremity movement, a movement that I'm certainly no fan of, but because those films lacked the poetry and disfigured humor that Miike has been peddling for the last twenty two years. He'd perfected absurdity and grit long before young directors started pushing 85 minute long torture porn flicks. For a man who has been in the industry for a long time and amassed a protracted filmography, he has never pandered to an audience that wouldn't understand the kind of work he deals. Visitor Q, arguably his most inaccessible work to date, isn't an easy film to swallow, even for those that do understand Miike's punk rock philosophy.

To list off every inhuman atrocity that appears in Visitor Q would be to write out the entire script for you, but there is one stand-out scene that not only defies the laws of decency, but squats over them and squeezes out a steamy one.

I'd like to start off by saying that Ken'ichi Endô is a fantastic actor and deserves all of the big gigs he's had over his career (Crows ZeroCromartie High, Dead or Alive 2: Birds, to name a few), but if anyone else had agreed to do what he did in Visitor Q, they'd probably have been kicked out of the film industry. So without going into too much detail, here's the scene that could have proven to be a career killer for a lesser talent;

Endô plays the deeply disturbed and perverted father of the Yamazaki family, Kiyoshi. Over the course of the film he has been flirting heavily with his female co-worker, who seems to laugh off all of his attempts at seducing her. Kiyoshi becomes infuriated by the rejection, follows her, sexually assaults her and chokes her to death. Uh-oh.

Things get even worse for Kiyoshi, however, far fucking worse. He takes the dead woman back to his house with the intention of chopping up her remains, but just like any other fucked-up salaryman, he decides to put the boots to her body one last time before he gets rid of her. Again, Kiyoshi finds himself in deep shit (literally, just watch the movie), and realizes that he can't remove himself from the woman due to the tightening of her muscles from rigor mortis.

Luckily, Kiyoshi long-suffering heroin addict wife comes to the rescue and places her husband, who is still genitally attached to the dead woman, into a bath rub. After a number of attempts to free himself from her, the wife has an idea. She whips out a bag of China white and administers a hot shot to her worried husband, and sure as day, his stiffy turns to an iffy. The couple share a heart-warming family moment together and CUT! Que a resounding "awww" from the studio audience.

I highly recommend this film for anyone with a tough stomach and with somewhat higher standards in their choices in disgusting and absurd cinema. You won't see a teenage girl being tortured and raped for two hours, the way most of the "shock" films seem to be headed these days, but you will get a well structured and genuinely interesting painting of the world's most dysfunctional family, even if that painting is dotted with feces and breast milk.

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