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The Mighty Miike Family: Part I

It is reported that Takashi Miike directs an estimated 8 – 10 feature films each year. At such a rate, he will surely go down in history as the world’s most prolific director. Much more important though, is his versatility and imaginative vision. Miike has made movies for children, Japanese period pieces, television programs, and some of the most outlandishly violent and deliciously perverse films I have ever had the pleasure to watch. I feel that he is at his personal best when the violence and taboo are juxtaposed with strong themes of family intertwined.

Fudoh: The Next Generation

Fudoh: The Next Generation

Fudoh: The Next Generation (1996) is a family Yakuza (Japanese mob) film. I think of Fudoh as Miike 101. It is a superb introduction to his special brand of humor, violence, and seemingly limitless and graphic sexual fantasy. Clocking in at a brief 100 minutes in length, Fudoh: The Next Generation is action packed from beginning to end. If your sensibilities are capable of making the leap into this world Miike has created, then you are in for a romping good time. You may also recognize the attention that he has honored to the craft.

Audition

Audition

For my money, Audition (1999) is Takashi Miike’s ultimate masterpiece. This is a multi-genre film of great depth. The sentiments and relationship between father and son are reminiscent of that found in an early 1970’s television show called The Courtship of Eddie’s Father, which starred Bill Bixby and Brandon Cruz. Audition begins slowly paced like that of many European films. The father is a widower who decides that he should find a wife. He is a good person at heart, yet he and a friend rationalize a scheme to hold a movie audition as a pretext for finding his bride. Audition embodies surreal dream elements, tragic confessions, visits from the dead, and some horrific moments. Sound design plays a big part in resounding events and creating uneasiness and tension. Audition quite simply has everything.

Until next time, I hope you have a great viewing experience. Comments are welcomed at cinespire@gmail.com.

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About the Author

Norbert made Murfreesboro, Tenn., his home in 1997. He conceived the Living Room Cinema column in 2006, and submits them regularly to the Murfreesboro Pulse. Aside from his love of films, Norbert is also an avid photographer. He is the very proud father of two, he beats on an old guitar, and plays a dicey game of Chess at best. Like Living Room Cinema at facebook.com/livingroomcinema.

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