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Japon (2002)

Cast: Alejandro Ferretis Elizondo, Alejandro Ferretis Elizondo, Magdalena Flores, more...
Director: Carlos Reygadas Barquín, Carlos Reygadas, Carlos Reygadas
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Rating: Not Rated
Studio: Tartan Video
Genre: Drama, Foreign, Spain, Latin America, Mexico
Running Time: 126 min.
Languages: Spanish
Subtitles: English
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A man on the brink of suicide regains the will to live under decidedly unusual circumstances in this drama from Mexico. A quietly despondent man (Alejandro Ferretis) leaves behind the city for a journey into a quiet village in the valley, telling anyone who cares to know that once he's settled in, he intends to kill himself. The man takes a room with Ascen (Magdalena Flores), and elderly woman who lost her husband some years ago. Keeping to himself, the man paints, thinks, and prepares himself for death, while Ascen slowly becomes aware of the depth of his depression. As Ascen's nephew attempts to rob her of her share of the family estate, the man feels a desire to live waking inside him again -- as well as the desire for a woman. Improbably, the man turns to Ascen for physical affection, and sensing his need for comfort, she complies, though the seduction lacks a great deal in the way of romance. The first feature film from writer and director Carlos Reygadas, Japon received an enthusiastic response when it was screened as part of the Directors' Fortnight series at the 2002 Cannes Film Festival. ~ Mark Deming, All Movie Guide

GreenCine Member Reviews

I have watched the enitre film. by lazlo May 5, 2006 - 11:13 AM PDT
1 out of 2 members found this review helpful
Japon, though admittedly a quite audacious film, is a very good movie. While some may find specific scenes rather shocking, there is nothing in this film that is gratuitous. It's shot on 16mm, but blown up to anamorphic 35mm cinemascope. It looks like nothing you have ever seen before. While I'd rather not spend time discussing its plot, I will say that the main character, a man on the brink of suicide, learns he is harboring a very primal desire. Now, while you may find it disgusting to see two horses copulating, it is not insignificant. Anyone who upon viewing this film deems it pretensious, or vulgar, I suggest watching the interview with its director, Carlos Reygadas. This is obviously a very smart guy not interested in gross-for-grossness sake storytelling. And if it's "ugly peasants", i.e. real people, that bother you, then yes, by all means, stay away from this film.

Pretentious Mexican art film by nate May 1, 2005 - 11:33 AM PDT
1 out of 5 members found this review helpful
I'm bothered by pretentious art films, and this is first and foremost a pretentious art film: grainy panoramas in odd aspect ratios, poorly mixed sound, 'intentionally' bad focus and over/under exposure, jerky first person hand-held shots, and lots of pictures of the ground shot from a moving vehicle. I've got no problem with low budget, I just don't want the defects to be intentional.

I gave up midway through, so I don't have much to say about the story, only that there wasn't much of one at the midway point. I gave it a 3/10 in the hope that the ending was better than the beginning. If, as according the first review, it stays the same, I wouldn't have gone higher than a 2/10. I think the first review here nailed it. This is not a good film.

Try these two first by squad November 12, 2004 - 3:56 PM PST
6 out of 9 members found this review helpful
If you decide not to heed my advice and watch this movie, first I recommend you rent "The Bed You Sleep In" and then "Padre Padrone". "Japon" tops them both in the gross-out factor. It is as equally amateurish in technique as the former, and as in poor taste as the latter. I will not say that I hated this film (one point), because it is beyond contempt, i.e., "not worth killing". This has to be the all-time worst film I have ever seen. OK, let me list why: grainy out of focus 99 percent of the time, full of ugly looking peasants, a dove gets its head snapped off early on and the head lies on the ground gasping, a dead horse with its intestines hanging out, horses copulating for no apparent story related reason, a nude intercourse scene between a 50 year old man and an 80 year old woman, a pig squealing in the background as its throat is slit, the main 50 year old character graphically masturbating pointlessly, a very drunk Mexican trying to grunt a love ballad, a handicapped man eating an apple with his feet, all wrapped up in a story line that has no story to tell, two hours of this and unfortunately more. Arrg!!!!

GreenCine Member Rating

(Average 6.20)
20 Votes
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Cannes Film Festival & More - 2002
Official Selection, Certain Regards... and more. Here is a bit more information on the films screened at the Cannes. I have attempted to list all the films that were considered for an award as well as any special screenings.
Tartan Video
Tartan Video has been releasing the very best of cinema from all over the world on DVD and Video. Films that entertain, amaze, shock, excite and continually challenge our perceptions of cinema and the world around us.

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