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Film Critics: Today, December 13, winners from Dallas ForthWorthFCA, ChicagoFCA and Film Comment Magazine. Nominations from HoustonFCS, PhoenixCC. PhoenixFCS.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Akiresu to Kame (Achilles and the Tortoise)


I know that Takeshi Kitano is not for everyone and his fans are really “fanatic” about him. I’m not his “fanatic” fan, but I believe that some Kitano’s films are really extraordinary and this is one of them. I simply LOVE this film, as not only is an incredibly good cinematic experience but also deals with something that is my passion: Art and painters. Besides, lately I have had trouble finding films that make me laugh hard and gee, did I laugh hard with this film! A great relaxing experience for me, as there is nothing to relax you better than true laughing.

As mentioned, the story is about art and painters, but you have no idea how Kitano “plays” with almost every possible side of art and does it the most sarcastic, dark and unbelievably good way I could ever imagined. No matter if you believe that what you see is fiction, reality, extreme, simple, complex, etc, he found an amazing way to express himself as an artist (he paints and all the paints in the film are his) and to touch us viewers with great food for thought about art, but also about anything that you want to do “no matter what”… Fantastic!

The story follows a character, Machisu Kuramochi, from childhood to old age; you can say that has three stages, the first when Kuramochi is a little boy and discovers that he likes painting; the second, when he's a young man and is struggling with earning money and selling his paintings; the last, when Kuramochi (played by none other than Kitano himself) is older and still struggling to live out of his painting.

As a movie, the first part is magnificent as is filmed in the classic Japanese cinema style and is set around pre-WWII (or so); the second part is glorious and you start to laugh like crazy, I believe is set around the’60s (or so); but the last part with Kitano acting just becomes extraordinary for the story and the crazy things that happen. In the movie time is irrelevant, but I wanted to give you readers an idea of the three different acts in the movie. Fabulous!

Please do not get the idea that this is a comedy as it is not. It is a quite serious drama with –for example- many people dying around Kuramochi’s long life, with very interesting and complex life decisions/issues exploration, and then most scenes where you will laugh are really dark and done in a style that for me completely recalls silent cinema and the likes of Chaplin and Keaton. I also believe that knowing about great painters will allow you to more easily understand the acidity and sarcasm expressed in this movie, which will only make you laugh harder! Absolutely Great!!!

There is too much to be said about this movie that premièred at 2008 Venice fest where won the Audience Award and was competing for the Golden Lion but I will stop here to make it shorter and different, as this movie is one that some of my known readers have to see to have a great cinematic experience that includes something that not often happens with great films, you will laugh a lot and hard!

Definitively not for all audiences as most critics’ and some viewers complain that is too long (me, I wanted more!), that’s too slow and repetitive (not me at all and could think of one or two art related issues that I could have added) and too strange (there is nothing strange in here!).

I really LOVE this film!!! Obviously I highly recommend it to those that want to have a quite unique cinematic experience.

Big Enjoy!!!

Watch trailer @ Movie On Companion

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