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 Gozu(film)

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Invader Zim
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PostSubject: Gozu(film)   Gozu(film) Icon_minitimeMon Jun 14, 2010 3:00 pm

(WARNING THIS FILM IS SCARY AND GROSS)

Gozu has a reputation for being one of the strangest Japanese films ever filmed, with its ensemble of weird characters and dreamlike storyline. Of the film, Takashi Miike says: "If you were a child and rode on a bike to a place you've never been, you'd feel like it's real but not really real. Gozu is like that. You go to a place you've never been but you don't have to make any sense as to why or how you are there."

Structurally, Gozu is a succession of bizarre scenes sandwiched between a storyline involving Minami’s search for his brother Ozaki that is reminiscent of the episodic quests in Greek Mythology. These scenes are often comedic and disturbing, approaching a sort of cartoonish perversity and gross-out humor that is comparable to the films of John Waters.

Style

The script was written by Sakichi Sato, but during the three-week shoot, Miike gave the actors only their characters' names and occupations. The dialogue and pivotal scenes were improvised, including Ozaki's memorable rebirth. The result is a film that transcends the yakuza movie genre and becomes a stream of consciousness dreamscape.

Gozu is a unique blend of Miike’s brand of visceral irreverence and tongue-in-cheek surreal humor. A particularly interesting scene is the one in which a shopkeeper’s American wife is talking to Minami. Miike later revealed that the revealing of the cue cards was a spur-of-the-moment decision on his part during filming: The actress couldn't recite her lines fluently, and rather than re-shooting the scene, Miike simply decided to milk her poor command of Japanese for comedic effect, further adding to the artificiality of the scene by purposely bringing the camera behind the scenes. This instance of breaking the fourth wall demonstrates the playful absurdity of the movie, juxtaposed with sinister, darker undertones.

Themes and symbolism
Split personality – Pertaining to the weird subtext and the movie’s focus on Minami, it is not Ozaki who develops a split personality, but rather, Minami, who undergoes two different kinds of relationships - platonic and intimate – with Ozaki. Nose, Minami’s guide through his hellish journey, has a half white face consistent to this theme.

Reincarnation – Ozaki is not reborn once, but twice in the movie. After Minami learns of Ozaki’s fate in the junkyard, he learns that the people who run it have preserved his skin which he then identifies by the shape of a....don't ask. Later, he meets Ozaki as an attractive young woman. Ozaki has shed his masculine exterior to reveal his feminine side, and is thus ‘reborn’ as a woman.

Many of Miike’s films (e.g. Dead or Alive 2: Birds, Dead or Alive: Final, IZO, The Happiness of the Katakuris) contain imagery alluding to rebirth. However, in the context of Gozu, the rebirth of Ozaki represents a mental state, as opposed to Izo, which uses this imagery in a grander, existential scheme of things.

Mythological Allusions - In the movie, a road leads into a river, which Minami almost drives into. At this point, Ozaki appears to have ‘died’. The river can be perceived as the river Styx that the dead cross to reach the underworld, befitting the scenes that follow in which Minami seems to be passing a series of challenges with demonic and supernatural figures including a cross-dressing waiter and a mobster who agrees to help Minami in his search if he can answer a sphinx-like riddle.

Femininity – It is useful to note that Minami encounters Cow Head in the inn owned by the middle-aged innkeeper who urges Minami to drink her milk. The cow and the innkeeper alike are over-nurturing mother figures who try to fill in the gap during the absence of Ozaki, the father figure. Minami resists all this and persists in looking for Ozaki.

On the significance of the cow head, Miike also offers the explanation: "The Japanese are a little strange when it comes to religion, wedding ceremonies are Christian and deaths Buddhist. In one of these traditions, there is a character known as Gozu who exists between evil and the human world. He's the assistant of evil."

This film is @#$%^& weird to the point I would not rent it.
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