Melbourne Cinematheque: 31 Aug 11: Shinoda Week 3

30 Aug

Taking his cue from Jean-Luc Godard’s use of style and filmic form, Shinoda’s Killers on Parade (1961) exposes Japans ever-growing, post-war fascination with Western culture. The lust and desire experienced by the characters is played out in comic-book styled satire with the figurative and the literal intertwining with the soundtrack and action scenes. Here, a building contractor who wishes to dispose of a journalist who has learnt too much of his unscrupulous business deals hires a band of eclectic assassins to finish her off.

And for the last showing on the Shinoda special is Double Suicide (1969) wherein Jihei, a paper merchant, and Koharu, a geisha, plan their suicides so they may be united in death. The lovers, forced to be separated due to social conventions and class, first appeared in bunraku puppet play in Japanese culture in the 1700s. Here, in Shinoda’s adaption, the characters still exhibit the tendencies of their puppet origins as they are being pulled and manipulated throughout life. Double Suicides juxtaposes Japanese myth and old customs with new wave cinema and modernist elements, enabling the film to resonate with audiences.

This film also signals the end of the Samurai, Assassins, Rebels and Double Suicides that were the Shinoda retrospective of the 1960s. Up next at Cinematheque is a week-long look at pre-code Hollywood.

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