|Suicide Club of Life.
||[Mar. 25th, 2004|09:00 pm]
|[||In the Moment
|||||Sensual Armed Forces - The Epic of Gilgamesh||]|
Jisatsu Circle, aka Suicide Club in the United States, features a strange amalgam of social commentary, mixed with campy horror, mixed with a large helping of unrelenting mystery, centered around a series of bizarre suicides by Japanese youths.
The opening moments at the train station are those that you won't easily forget over time.
One of the key points to understand from outside of Japanese culture is the country's suicide rate.
Apparently, for some time now, Japan's suicide rate, especially in youth, is higher than any other industrialized country.
With that in mind, you begin to understand the points made from Shion Sono's rather odd and wonderous film.
Are you connected with yourself?
The points made by the coughing child over the phone to inspectors seems to confuse us, but it shouldn't.
Japan's culture, being very competitive and conformist, can leave little time for self-expression and acceptance of the individual.
Basically, the childrens' utterings of adults as criminals and understanding the connections of each other, yet asking if one is connected to oneself . . .
Well, let me put it this way.
Suicide Club shows a different style of film-making from traditional Western films. Instead of meanings given to the audience, or meanings hidden so close to the surface, this Japanese effort demonstrates the open-ended style of film-making . . .
The questions left by the film are intended to be left, given to the audience to find meaning. You can see this style in David Lynch films, and to a certain similarity, Michael Moore's Bowling for Columbine takes this approach.
The film doesn't attempt to package all of its symbolism for the audience. At multiple times in Club, we're left up to our subconscious and conscious mind to slowly piece the events together for better understanding.
This style is far from the poor-storytelling featured in some films. There are no real attempts to resolve Suicide Club by extraordinary and unbelieveable means. Few, if any, holes ruin the atmosphere of Club.
The story isn't the finest-crafted of Japanese films . . . Kuroda, one of the agents focused upon quite a bit, does not receive the focus all the way through the film. It isn't much of a circular plot, either.
Many of the scenes, taken by themselves, make little sense, much like David Lynch's work. However, one set of scenes in particular I noticed folks had difficulty . . . toward the end, the student finds the secret group . . . she talks with the children . . . we then see her submit to flesh sacrifice . . .
To me, it is a symbolic gesture, seemingly an affirmation that one is connected to one's self, not only that way, but truly connected to others, in tangible form to show the full connection.
The message of the children is that people should live their own lives how they see fit.
Themes of reincarnation, the innocence and place and connection in the world that children experience . . . the losing of such connection as one grows older . . . these are important themes to understand.
Questions I look forward to have answers for . . . apparently, Suicide Club will have more movies planned for it, like Ringu has . . .
1. What's the deal with the child, the one who coughed after every sentence he uttered over the phone . . . in particular, the symbolism, if any, of the coughing?
2. What is the Japanese word and the meaning surrounding the three spellings of the pre-teen pop sensation group?
Someone by the id of dballred on IMDB mentioned the Japanese name for the band, Dezaato, was consistent through the film.
Here's a thread about the ever-changing name of the Club's pre-teen phenom group:
3. Will the "Charles Manson of the Information Age" return?
4. What's with the two featured websites?
Well, there's actually three, I think. I fail to completely comprehend the websites because they are in Japanese, and I'm a lowly English-speaker.
*www.maru.ne.jp (this one was featured in the film by The Bat, and it was also listed as the name of one of the DVD chapters)
This is the website which features the main page and only page, the one with the cryptic red and white dots, which appear before suicides are reported.
I went to this one, and it didn't look like the website with the dots for the suicides, that's for sure. I was surprised they didn't seemingly have something connected for Suicide Club at these websites.
*www.jikennews.com (mentioned by The Bat as a place to find her online)
*www.ruins.com (mentioned by Kuroda's son as a website with a message to stop the suicides . . . had the flash circular animation)
Again, I didn't check on this one . . . not understanding Japanese makes for great limitations. :D
Some may find the dark humor more funny than I. In this case, the dark humor of the suicides were so over the top, and it was mixed with so much mystery . . . I could not laugh at most of the strange deaths.
However, one in particular, the stand-up comedian . . . in the montage of deaths, that one I took humor from, considering that many a stand-up comic has probably wished that upon themselves after a bad performance. :D
I would advise a 2nd viewing of the film not long after you've watched it once. Like Lynch films, you pick up on more of the film's points after you watch it another time.
I had an interesting interaction with the Blockbuster clerk when I brought this one up for rental.
The dude behind the Blockbuster counter, head-dress of mohawk, held the movie case at arm's length, limply. He shivered as he dropped it into a bag, and he said, "I can't believe I touched that movie. Uuuooouu-uu-uuh!"
"Why? Is it that bad?"
"No," he said. "It's just that, dude, it is the creepiest film I've ever seen. Good though."
"Just keep telling yourself, 'the songs aren't real, nothing about this is real, nothing in it's real, not real' . . . . and you'll be fine."
It wasn't the creepiest film I've watched . . . but it was worth watching.
note: Sensual Armed Forces, a talented group from the Wesside of Michigan, can be found at: http://www.snse.net/
Kudos to you fine folks for the theme music for this post.