Saturday, January 07, 2006

Hallucinogens + Japan: "...drill the wax which was pulled."

Yes, it's 2:30 ayem and I'm up.

I love Japanese cinema, except, really, for anime. (I mean, it's good if Miyazaki does it, but I'm lukewarm on most of the rest of it.) But even I marvel at the extremities of oddity that emerge from the land of the rising sun. Such is the case with Executive Koala, whose website I discovered during one of those rambling late-night surf sessions during which one is both insomniac and bored. Like tonight.

First, allow yourself to contemplate this still...

Then marvel to the surrealism of this synopsis, which I unearthed via a bit more Googling.

"Tamura is an average divorced salaryman in Japan - and also a man-sized, suit-and-tie wearing, upright-walking koala bear. Though not a human being, he's a successful businessman with ventures overseas who refuses to play office politics. He hopes to marry his girlfriend, Yoko, and raise a child. His visions are of an ordinary life with an ordinary company until his ordinary retirement. But when his girlfriend turns up dead one morning, the police finger the Executive Koala as their prime suspect. Tamura runs from Detective Ono and fights to prove his innocence. Tamura wants to know why there are gaps in his memory. Is he a murderer? Does he have multiple personalities? And what does his bartender (the frog) and his boss (the rabbit) know about the two-hundred year old terrifying secret behind the EXECUTIVE KOALA?"


Now you'd think from that still you were getting either some kid's movie, or maybe a bit of snarky "Adult Swim"-style college-oriented bit of goofiness in the South Park or Invader Zim mold. Doesn't seem to be the case. They seem to be selling this as a straight-faced thriller/drama!

What is most bizarre to me is this. As any filmmaker will tell you, it's tough to get a movie made. Lengthy meetings are taken. A prospectus is drawn up, line-item budgets revised repeatedly. Financing is secured, if you're one of the lucky ones. Escrow accounts are opened, accounting firms hired. Distribution deals must be arranged.

Now, imagine someone in the industry in America — either Hollywood or indie — at any point in time during the pitching process, making the above pitch.

The mind reels. And yet, all of the machinery I described as having to be set in motion to make a film was in fact set in motion in Japan, towards the production of Executive Koala.

I'm not trying to prejudge the movie's merits at all! For all I know, this is some manner of left-field magical realist brilliance to put the wildest imaginings of Luis Buñuel or Alejandro Jodorowsky to shame. I kind of doubt that — but my point is, as hard as it is to make a film there are people on earth who can make something as loopy as this! I stand in awe.

Skipping over to the movie's own site, I basked in the oddity of the trailer, and decided to have some fun subjecting some of its Japanese text to one of those shot-in-the-dark online translator bots, which rendered the following:

The tag of well Siyuntarou Kanai "it was and the wrestler" recorded スマッシュ hit, as for this foolish animal movie series the イケ る, with as for production each company thought. Then, what is made next? The fact that it surfaces then is "the koala". Why? "It is and the wrestler" after all, "it is?" and if, they are marine products ones, the movie is made the element of date, "it was and?" the maniac passed excessively. In addition the advertisement copy is and "is ill-smelling and is the め! "Those which are. ウ it is in ウケ る one, as for the person who is pulled to think, the っ drill the wax which was pulled. Then! To be whether and so on compared to, it is lovely, with Mammalia "koala" which the woman likes essentially as a leading part in the audience straddle issues. Furthermore unexpected, that koala section chief.

"Audience straddle issues"? I am so all over this movie!

Boy, it's late...

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