The Banana Guide to Asian Entertainment: It’s All About Japan: Part III
These can only be Japanese.
Of course, slow films aren’t for everyone.
Sometimes it takes some getting used to the silences and the pacing, so what’s left for us who need a little UMPH in our movie-watching? Movies so out of this world that they can only be Japanese, like Sion Sono’s 4-hour epic love story of the panty-snapper pervert in Love Exposure (愛のむきだし), or Kinji Fukasaku’s student-hunting survivor cult classic, Battle Royale (バトル・ロワイアル).
Films that fit this category tend to be so unique they would be impossible to adapt into other cultures. You would never be able to fully understand an American version of Takeshi Kitano pushing a bunch of students to kill each other off in a Hollywood remake of Battle Royale, just like you wouldn’t imagine an American actor pulling off Takahiro Nishijima’s role as religious panty-snapper Yu in a remake of Love Exposure.
In that case, Memories of Matsuko fits this description perfectly. A story made for melodrama heights, Tetsuya Nakashima’s treatment of the film (and Miki Nakatani’s acting) elevates the film to soaring measures of pure weird, from animated Disney-esque numbers to Sin City/Moulin Rouge sequences of music, love and hurt.
Note: All of Tetsuya Nakashima’s filmography is so deliciously bizarre, he is TRULY Japanese.
Other films that “can only be Japanese” are: Paprika (パプリカ), Welcome to the Quiet Room (クワイエットルームにようこそ), Hijoshi Zukan (非女子図鑑), Survive Style 5+, Turtles Swim Faster than Expected (亀は意外と速く泳ぐ), Instant Swamp (インスタント沼), and Ultra-Miracle Love Story (ウルトラミラクルラブストーリー).