2 Great Retrospectives Coming up at Film Forum

From June 20 to August 7, Film forum is going to be dishing out, by my count, 25 movies starring leading man Tatsuya Nakadai. Appallingly, I have seen all of none of these movies, but I have a chance to fix that now. I’m especially looking forward to seeing him play Natsume Soseki in “I Am a Cat.” As the Film Forum folks (FFF) have so elegantly put it,

With his starring roles in bona fide classics by Kurosawa and Kobayashi, and multiple leading parts for masters as disparate in style and subject matter as Naruse, Okamoto, Gosha, Teshigahara, Kinoshita, and the late Kon Ichikawa, Nakadai’s career provides a core sample right through the heart of the Golden Age of Japanese Cinema.

Details on this found here by clicking on Nakadai’s handsome mug:

Nakadai

If you were inclined to follow that link, then you would have noticed that the first page of the PDF was devoted to outlining the schedule of a retrospective of Godard’s ’60s. Having only seen Alphaville, I think, of all his films still out there circulating and churning with all those images, reproduced everywhere, of that particularly French mind-destroying femininity, I am excited to be able correct the deficit in my learning. Particularly motivating is La Chinoise, which Netflix doesn’t carry and my local, definitively non-yokel hipster video store also doesn’t have on its shelves. Starring a young future Mme. Godard, it follows a young group of ’60s hipsters who form a Maoist cell through the travails of being young and hot and boojie and forming a maoist cell, I would imagine. I’m imaging a French New-wave episode of Friends adapted for the big screen, a bunch of idealistic kids who wish they could have been Futurists but, for reasons of temporal nativity and philosophical fortitude in the end were just part of that whole exciting decade whose anticlimax paved the way for our awareness of virtuality.

W00T!11!111!

Culture! Man, we got a lot of it here. Summer is rolling out of its hibernatory grotto and the flowering mind raises its pistils.

Sadamitsu the Destroyer: Come in Space Pajamas, or Don’t Come at All.

Ride a bikemonster or don't ride at all.

A week or so ago I Netflixed an animated series I had started watching halfway through its original TV run when I was living in Japan, “Sadamitsu: The Destroyer“. You got your basic rowdy gang of lovable Japanese teen toughs, led by the quick-tempered, never-say-die, brawling Tsubaki Sadamitsu. You got your enabling bombshell high school teacher, Chieko-sensei, who patches up the gang after their fights (most of which lead to her personal possessions, hard come-by, being destroyed somehow). You got your enigmatic new girl in school, whose deep and unfathomable bond with Sadamitsu is expressed with your basic screaming, brash manliness and arm-punching for Sadamitsu’s part, and the big-eyed blinking and gasping for new girl Kamishiro Yayoi’s part, oddly typical of boys and girls in Japan who often never seem to learn to give articulate shape to their feelings for one another. You got your basic inscrutable woman who is also a world-destroying planetary hangman robot alien. It touches on the basic fabric of male/female relations and vast, fearful gulf that gapes in the understanding between the sexes!

Sadamitsu keeps it real in space pajamas and tabi socks with a bird that eats garbage.

Sadamitsu, as you can see above, keeps it real with the Yamato spirit, communing with nature and keeping the balance between fighting monsters from outer space and tradition and all that.

The story goes that an intergalactic police officer, chasing intergalactic criminals to earth, is distracted by Sadamitsu during a battle and is consequently destroyed. Sadamitsu puts the space-cop’s head on like a helmet, and he is suddenly covered in skin-tight body armor and knobs. Utilizing skin-tight body armor and knobs, and, if you will dig the picture below, occasional extra eyeballs, he spends the rest of the series sending space criminals to space prison. And he screams a lot. And he never backs down.

Comem with extra eyes or don't come at all.

I’m not really the otaku anime type, but this guy is just too badass. Flipping the stations in my mountain valley washitsu as I sat beneath the warm, testicle-baking kotatsu drinking a couple of dai-bins of Kirin Ichiban, I very dimly recall thrilling to the exploits of this teenager in a trenchcoat riding a bikemonster to glory. I lolled on the floor amid the kerosene fumes hoping Sadamitsu could reverse the roles and get around to being a real man who could protect Kamishiro for a change, instead of relying on her unnatural space robot habit of doing the man’s job and always protecting him. How relieved I was to see he was finally able to do it- but only with the aid of Yayoi’s enigmatic new girl in school style feminine wiles. She recharges his space pajamas halfway through the series. Oh, man, that is a spoiler, but it’s just such a beautiful example of how you gotta respect that all life springs from woman and that’s why you have to keep them safe with laser swordplay. Did I mention his bike was a monster? His bike was a monster. That is far more badass than anything you would find at Sturgis. If I had a bike that was a monster, you know what I would do? I’d ride straight to hero’s promontory and stand there in the lens-flare as the wind whipped my coat around. I would also tuck my parachute pants into my tabi socks. Damn, would my loneliness have a manly meaningfulness to it.

Take the lonely, windy path to the promontory of herodom.

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