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2003-04-30 | 12:33 a.m.

corduroy licorice was up for grabs. he just didn't like it when his dates pinched or tickled him.

***

film review time again:

this past weekend i saw an artsy fartsy film that kept coming back to me in the form of mental still shots for a 24-hour period. how do you like them apples?

the film is called japon (spanish for "japan") and is set in a rural part of mexico. a middle-aged artist decides he is going to commit suicide in a remote village, so takes up temporary quarters in an impoverished elderly woman's house. during his stay, he struggles with the idea of ending it and develops a friendship with this amazingly self-sacrificing, wise woman (who reminded me of my grandma way far away, even down to the sunday going-to-church dress she'd wear from the crack of dawn to nightly prayers). the actors were non-professionals cast just for the film and they gave amazing performances. stoic expressions have never said so much.

directed by carlos reygadas, this movie is another in my new favorite genre of quiet films that hold shots for a cleansingly long time and rely very little on dialogue or soundtracks. japon was very slow-moving and tired me out a bit by the end, but made up for it in true emotion.

a few reviews i've read have questioned the title as being a arthouse pretension since it has no apparent tie to the film. my thoughts on that are that the simple human truths in this film are universal, not tied to a certain nation or its people. there is also a minimialistic feeling to the film--an aesthetic associated with japan. the idea of the "land of the rising sun" probably has something to do with the title choice, too. the people and places shown in this film are so "salt of the earth." life begins and ends as the sun rises and sets, with primitive simplicity. i kept thinking of the phrase reporters in iraq have been tossing around: "the cradle of civilization." this village had that same feeling to it. the cycle of life is a part of their daily lives, even in the natural ugliness of death.

consider my top ten list for 2003 one movie closer to being complete.

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take a peek at these - (c) 2000-2003 nictate:

health tip
2005-03-16

health tip
2005-03-16

moving house
2004-11-19

quibbling with quitherfeather
2004-11-17

catcher in the wry
2004-11-16