Tuesday, October 13, 2009
This year I am particularly excited about the launch of the SDAFF Extreme program at the San Diego Asian Film Festival. So in honor of the debut of SDAFF Extreme, here are a pair of Asian Extreme trailers for you to enjoy... or not.
Extreme cinema is an acquired taste and I definitely have a taste for it. But not all extreme cinema has to be violent as this mix of live action and plush puppets proves. The above trailer is for "Neko Ramen (Pussy Soup)," which will be playing as part of SDAFF Extreme on Saturday October 17 at the Ultrastar Mission Valley at Hazard Center. I'll have more on the extreme program tomorrow. The story involves a cat that fails to follow in the footsteps of his famous "cat idol" dad so he tries his hand at being a ramen chef. Filmmaker Minoru Kawasaki previously made "Calamari Wrestler," about a wrestling squid, and "Executive Koala," about an executive who happens to be a koala. This guy obviously has some anthropomorphic issues to work through. Taisho was the hero of a manga series and if plush puppets sound too cute and cuddly, they are but in that very special way that Japanese films mix cute and twisted. So we have Taisho attempting suicide, trying to make a living as a sushi chef and a surgeon, and trying to make out with a real cat. OMG kitty porn!
Extreme programmer Phil Luque says, "Extreme cinema is a part of the Asian film experience; whether it is embraced with open arms or with strong disdain is always an issue. For me, the extreme film experience from Asia specifically is very particular to fringe cultural experiences that could not be seen in many other cinematic forms." Kudos to Luque and the festival for finally embracing the "extreme" wing of Asian cinema.
Below is a trailer for a film I hope they program next year: "Robo Geisha." Director Noboru Iguchi also made "The Machine Girl," which words cannot do justice to. His next film, due out in 2010, is "Robo Geisha." Watch the trailer at your own risk and with a sense of fun. But with all these extreme films I just appreciate the way the filmmakers refuse to accept boundaries and limitations. So some of the cleverness and innovation is how they work around low budgets to achieve some eye-popping effects.