Gozu review

:. Director: Takashi Miike
:. Starring: Hideki Sone, Sho Aikawa
:. Running Time: 2:10
:. Year: 2003
:. Country: Japan

One can certainly wonder why the prolific Takashi Miike is hooked on directing such nutty films. First, lactic effusion, a recurring theme in his cinema (Visitor Q), seems to obsess him, even though that doesn't explain everything!

Be the judge: a yakuza, at his life's end, starts to exterminate chihuahuas, convinced that the poor animals have fomented the destruction of his fellow human beings. His paranoiac crises multiply, he becomes a threat for his Organization. His boss orders his execution and charges his most faithful friend to take care of the dirty job. Thus begins a strange voyage outside of the city.

Freud himself would have given up deciphering Gozu, a narrative crossbreed of a badly regulated Oedipal complex, self-contained homosexuality, dislike for women and particularly for parturition. The most notable scene of the film is when the yakuza, who is mysteriously changed into a superb woman, gives birth to himself, before his horrified friend who has just lost his virginity to the creature! Lars Von Trier has met his match: this horrific climax by far exceeds the traumatizing childbirth of The Kingdom.

This would probably make the most sensitive of us faint, if the laughter, contagious, wasn't taking over all these horrors. Miike subtitled his picture "yakuzas horror movie" and admittedly he doesn't deceive!

While it can certainly be categorized as a cult cinema, Gozu does not, however, look like an arty do-it-yourself work. Visually elaborate, the film brings us to the furthermost bounds of the fantastic and horror. Out of the city, the ghosts invest the fiction and impulses break out until paroxysm. Thus, the homoerotic relation linking the two protagonists generates a beautiful killer with a thirst for revenge. The death of the lustful Godfather, a specialist in the diversion of kitchen accessories for shameful purposes, is another great moment of the picture.

How to react vis-à-vis such delirious fiction? To agree to let oneself be grabbed by the uninterrupted flood of embarrassing scenes? To appreciate the sulfurous and schoolkid-like character of the work? Finally, to question oneself about what Gozu really is ? A splendid story of trashy love, a UFO out of the sick imagination of a resolutely cult filmmaker. And undoubtedly, one of the weirdest films this decade!

  Sandrine Marques

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