I just watched the movie Ichi the Killer tonight with some of my ZUCC co-workers. Carl and Alf have been itching to get me to watch that movie ever since Carl borrowed my DVD collection while I was in Japan this past August. I told them I hadn’t seen Ichi the Killer, and they misremembered my mention of the movie as a recommendation. Anyway, they watched it and were psychologically scarred, so they wanted to return the favor.
The movie was very disturbing. Ultra violent, and just plain sick, sick, sick. I really don’t see the point in making a movie like that. The director, Miike Takashi (三池崇史), is evidently pretty famous for the movie Audition. I haven’t seen it, but I don’t plan to.
Perhaps the only semi-worthwhile part of my movie-watching experience was a reflection I had about Japanese and Chinese relations. Anyone who has studied the rape of Nanking (Nanjing) knows that some sick, sick atrocities were committed on Chinese civilians. All kinds of people have tried to explain the actions of the Japanese soldiers — their dehumanizing of their enemy and their blind obedience to their superiors.
When Chinese people say they hate the Japanese, I try to suggest to them that what happened during the war was committed by people in a different time, who were products of their particular circumstances. I don’t mean to excuse what those people did, but the youth of today’s Japan didn’t do those things. But the Chinese often hold onto a “you don’t understand the Japanese. They’re clever. They’re twisted. You just don’t understand” mentality.
Movies like Ichi the Killer lend credence to those kinds of opinions. At least the “twisted” part. Miike was born in post-war Japan.
I’d like to see more GTO, Spirited Away, and Kikujiro. I’m going to stay away from Miike’s films. That’s all I’ve got to say about that.
(Oh yeah — also, Carl and Alf are mean.)