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Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Japan Japan

Japan Japan opens with the protagonist Imri stating "cinema is dead," and at times during this movie I found myself agreeing with him. Imri is a gay ex-Israeli soldier who is concurrently trying to figure out what to do with the rest of his life as well as yearning to visit Japan. At times the film's intentionally irreverent editing and choppy dialogue was thoughtful and touching while at other times it was simply annoying. Some of the montages, like the gripping footage of Israeli streets while Japanese pop music played in the background, were incredibly impressive. Similarly, the scenes between the serious Imri and his seemingly crazy/goofy roommate who holds parties by herself with imaginary guests were incredibly endearing and hilarious, shedding light on how Imri should just let go and stop taking life so seriously. However, it was blatantly obvious when some scenes were scripted and others were improvised. Switching from drama to comedy to musical, Japan Japan left a lot to be desired.

I believe the film could have scratched much more below the surface to explore Imri's desire for Japan, or his struggles with his current crisis of being in transition towards adulthood. Don't get me wrong, I am a huge fan of films that are slow-paced or irreverent, however when it is obviously forced, the film becomes taxing to watch. The director, Lior Shamriz, has great talent and a lot to offer and I look forward to giving his future films a second chance.

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