Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Kitami (1989)

I’m very unfamiliar with the Japanese Pinku genre and to be honest, until a couple of weeks ago I couldn’t name one single movie. So I’m quite happy to finally got the chance to experience Hisayasu Sato’s Kitami, aka Muscle aka The Madness Night aka… ya, you know the rest, a new title for each damn territory. The first one mentioning this movie to me was Jason over at Cinezilla, and that’s the reason my friend Tommy in Japan was kind enough to send me the official DVD. I’m very grateful for these two gentlemen helping me see the Gay Pinku light.

Takeshi Itô is Ryuzaki, an editor for a Muscle magazine. He gets involved with an experimental dancer, Kitami (Simon Kumai) and at first the relationship is very kind, very gentle, but Kitami slowly drifts into sado-masochism and wants Ryuzaki to cut him, hurt him. It ends in Ryuzaki cutting of Kitami’s arm and ends up in prison for a year. But he’s still in love with Kitami, or maybe just obsessed by him, and starts to search for him in the back alleys of Tokyo. One reason is to give back Kitami’s arm that he has in a big jar in his apartment and find true love again…

Just an hour long, Kitami squeezes so much drama and passion into these 60 minutes that a lot of other directors and screenwriters should be ashamed of wasting hours and hours of valuable of time on cliché-ridden scripts about love and pain. This is concentrated passion. I guess some people would find the story a bit to dark, a bit too negative, but those are also the people that pretend that they’re living in a silly dream world. Happiness isn’t only flowers and hearts, for some people it can be the pain and the suffering – for them the only way to know life. What I’m curious about, did Kitami want to loose his arm? Maybe, but Ryuzaki still have to give something back in the end, and in all its macabre details, it’s one of the most romantic endings I’ve seen.

This is the first Hisayasu Sato film I’ve seen, but I’m impressed by the realism and the length the actors go to create characters that feels real, that maybe even are real. There’s no poseurs here, no lightweight pretending. When Ryuzaki and Kitami have sex it’s the characters getting on with it, not actors pretending to be something else (do I have to mention it’s pretty hot to?). Both Takashi and Simon is very impressive in their parts, and manage to stay away from being pretentious – which must have been extra hard for Simon Kumani who plays a very arty farty dancer, a hard thing to do without boarding the performance to parody. But a good script and a good director overcome everything. In a Swedish movie things like this would just have been preposterous, that’s why I’m bringing it up.

I also need to mention the haunting score by So Hayakawa, I wish it was released somewhere. I never really cared for “happy gay movies”, what I care about is real gay movies. Movies that’s not shallow and stupid, stereotypical crap. We, the gay community, seem to be forcing ourselves to only like happy movies, but I demand the right to also be multi-layered and not so damn happy, just like the rest of the world. Kitami succeeds in this, long before any brokeback mountains or any other mechanical Oscar-winning project.

It takes a genius to make a movie like this, and I can’t wait to dive into the filmography of Hisayasu Sato!


Knutsford said...

hope you enjoy the movie. watched few times, it was really lovely.

CiNEZiLLA said...

So happy that you enjoyed this flick, it is after all one of my all time favourites.

Sato is a tricky bloke as his movies are of various quality, but I'll help you along the way. :)

There's a fair bit of Coil music used on the soundtrack as there track Ostia - The death of Pasolini is part of the Pasolini complex the movie has.

Anyways so damned happy you liked it. :D