Sunday, April 17, 2011

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Red Angel, dir. Yasuzo Masumura (1966) Somewhere

Closer to us unknown Yasuzo Masumura was one of the most important late-classical Japanese directors who, with their separate and often courageous work of paved the way representatives of the New Wave, and thus a thorough change that has taken place in Japanese cinema in the late 60's. Masumura was a generally faithful to the two themes, which consistently came back especially in the earliest and the best stage of his art: individualism and sexuality. One, moreover, was connected directly to him with the second, the sexuality depicted in two opposite ways. First, as a destructive force leading to self-destructive characters, though often at his own request - as in "Blind Beast" (Moju, 1969), "about a far-reaching - you can no longer continue - sado-masochistic view of a blind artist, and kidnapped by the model. Second, as a positive force (at least in part - sexuality in a smaller or larger so often combined was with him for the realm of death, like the body - lacerations), as a form of feelings of binding together a pair of heroes and individualises them from the rule odgraniczającego presented a critical population, which were part of.

This was even in his two wonderful and having a lot in common melodramatach: the "wife Seisaku" (Seisaku no sum, 1965) and formed a year later, "Red Angel". The first of these movies as an example the history of compound derived from poor families (rejected by the rural community) a young girl from a local war hero, a powerful, yet dramatic and beautiful way Masumura opposed to each other, these two orders: the individualist, associated with the sphere of unit feelings (with a strong emphasis on the erotic fascination) and the Community, in this case associated with a specific order, closed community, as well as with senior responsibilities: to the nation of Japan (the quarterback in the first years of the twentieth century, during the Russo-Japanese war movie Masumury was a strong critic of the ongoing aggressive nationalism in Japan by the end of World War II).

Context antiwar returns in "Red Angel" just as important (and at the same until a surprisingly dramatic, and not only for his day). Set in 1939 during the Sino-Japanese War, the heroine is a 24-year-old nurse, Nishi, who soon after he is raped by one of the wounded soldiers - And the eyes and with the help of others - is sent to a field hospital closer to the front line, where he falls in love addicted to morphine, and consequently suffer from impotence Dr. Okabe ...

In both these films starring prominent Japanese actress Ayako Wakao, muse Masumury (performed with him 21 times), both of the female heroine is in the foreground, her gaze is crucial - and in both it was the prospect of prejudice to freshness and moral courage.

One of the somewhat paradoxical characteristics of the period of Japanese cinema classical was that growing out of strong patriarchal culture and customs could - I would say that if, in spite and consequently the same time - a lot of beautiful portraits of female characters (most often occurring in the wider genre of melodrama, though not necessarily only). Initially presented yet quite monumental, as a mandatory tragic sacrifice of love, sacrificing for the beloved man (or child), thereby entering a few basic rising from the literary tradition of female archetypes: Ideally, the mother or the perfect lover. In time, with the escalation of Japanese society in the modern (Western, individualistic) patterns of film portraits of female characters, even if they are still included in the traditional melodramatic roles were becoming more complete and less sacred. One important consequence of these changes was to identify the next, the youngest of the Japanese female archetypes: female spider (or a female praying mantis), a seductive, conscious desire to raise, and dangerous: revenge on a privileged man for their grievances, which consequence of her child, because women's role (and in our well-known example of this type of heroine is Asami its excellent "pre-Games" Takashi Miike).

originality as the film and the heroine of "Red Angel" mainly lies in the fact that it is a combination of these archetypes. It is - in every sense - beautiful woman, devoting herself to the poor man (poor women), is a victim of love, while is fully corporeal, conscious of their sexuality, desires, and well its me. The basic feature by which it is perceived and portrayed the heroine in the world, presented here is sexuality, which is the first of its weakness, then strength. For most male protagonists Nishi exists as an object of desire for Okabe, where she is in love wants to exist as an object of desire ... Driven by compassion, dedicating himself to okaleczonemu (those without hands) soldier, who takes care of in a sense it is an invalid type Nishi feminism "holy sinners" (like the heroine of "Breaking the Waves," von Trier and "Joanna" Mundruczó), the type will be happy to be criticized or called objectification. male gaze. In the case of "Red Angel" such allegations have no chance at relevance, and it is not least due to different culture, but simply from the fact that in Masumury sexuality is a force that never is not something a child, something we can bring someone. Mentioned earlier, characteristic of his movies combine in this sphere with the death (as opposed to its kind) in a strong and quite obvious here is motivated by time and place of action: in this very lyrical film the hell of war, in the middle of which meet the heroes of the presence and the feeling lurking death is so strong that the discourses on the social roles they lose any meaning. What matters is only what is most important: love, survival, erection, orgasm.


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