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ABOUT: "Jam Films" is a collection of seven unique, short films from Japan.
.:: R E V I E W ::.
The hip and musical opening CG cutscene to JAM FILMS consists of cowboys, silver women and art deco shuttle rides to distant planets of vibrant designs. It is indeed an exciting way to prepare you for what is to come in this wonderful series of short films from Japan. Though, it is fitting at the same time as they all carry a rare and distinct voice, thus becoming a worthwhile expedition into the realm of contemporary cinema, ranging from genres of science fiction to obscure comedy to arthouse drama. This collection introduces us to some of Japan?s most promising modern filmmakers.
Written and Directed by Ryuhei Kitamura
Ryuhei Kitamura starts us off with THE MESSENGER, a very stylish and stirring story about an underworld boss who is visited by a mysterious woman known as The Messenger. Her supposed myth is that she is a voodoo assassin that curses men to death, but not all is what it seems as she uncovers a fateful secret about the life this particular boss lives. THE MESSENGER concentrates on atmosphere and dialogue and delivers a fantastic climax which includes the most unusual and coolest gun battle ever.
Directed by Tetuso Shinohara
Fujikara receives a kendama as a present from his boss after winning the company sumo tournament. At first glance, the kendama means nothing to him and hands it off to fellow worker, Akagi, apathetically. But when Fujiwara asks for it back, Akagi runs off and begins an afternoon chase that sends the kendama in the hands of another.... KENDAMA is very whacky indeed, a cute switcheroo adventure that has a very sweet message about relationship and love.
Written and Directed by George Ida
?Time to wake up? is heard in unison with the beating of a heart. The cold sleep machine opens and a confused man wakes up in a children?s school house. As he stumbles his way through, blanket wrapped around him, he discovers that he is not alone, but with full grown adults dressed in childish costumes shooting at him with toy ray guns! COLD SLEEP, while silly at first, comes into rational fruition as the story unfolds flamboyantly and strangely in this humorous science fiction short.
PANDRA ? HONG KONG LEG
Written and directed by Rokuro Mochizuki
A woman scratches her toes relentlessly in the hot shower, feeling shame at the same time. It is this shame that leads her to a strange man that claims he will cure her of her secret itch. When the treatment comes in the form of a silent man in a box licking her toes, she becomes obsessed with who he is. Perhaps the strangest of the JAM FILMS shorts, Mochizuki does a fascinating job providing mood and tone for this almost Lynchian-like tale.
Written and directed by Yukihiko Tsutsumi
Hijiki is a type of dried, black seaweed that is used in soups and other dishes. But what does it have to do with a criminal holding up a family of three? As HIJIKI begins, a disclaimer from the director appears to warn people of its unhappy ending. Yet, the films attitude is very surreal and almost comes off as a dark comedy at times. Though, it is very abundant in character development as they each preach about their lost dreams and ambitions and hope for a new life.
Written and directed by Isao Yukisada
An English speaking teacher is instructing his Japanese class about the Potsdam Declaration. As he paces around the classroom reciting the text off of his book, a few of the students are preoccupied by other things. One in particular stares out of the window and begins counting the snapping of the girl?s gym tights during a track practice. Entertainingly edited and paced, Yukisada?s use of a boy?s appreciation for jiggling thighs and colorful tights as the main metaphor in his story is quite interesting indeed.
Written and directed by Shunji Iwai
ARITA is a short film told in pictures and in small moments. It is about a girl whose first friend is a small drawing named Arita, a cute nosed endearment she found everywhere. From her notebooks to her illustrations and school supplies, Arita appeared silently and still. Growing up with such a friend would raise questions and as she became older, she attempted to answer them. Iwai, one of Japan?s most exciting directors, tells a beautiful and dream-like story through the precious eyes of Ryoko Hirosue. The heavenly tint of the picture and the serene piano playing makes ARITA easily an audience favorite.
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