Re: RARA-AVIS: Dark and Funny

Date: 23 Oct 2004

I thought of this discussion when I read Mark Schilling's description of Ichi the Killer in his Yakuza Movie Book:

The serious strangeness of Ichi is only the beginning; it's as though
[director Takashi] Miike and his staff sat up nights trying to top each other with fresh outrages. The splatter is so over the top -- certain shots are a broom's eye view of the slaughterhouse floor -- that the movie becomes a grotesque gaman taikai (endurance contest). That said, if you happen to share Miike's warped sense of humor (and to some extent, I am ashamed to say, I do), you will enjoy the way he propels the violence far, far beyond anything a Hollywood director would dare. Or the film will leave you staring at the screen in stony-eyed disgust. There's not much middle ground.

I saw Ichi this week, and found it funny (the film; the anime prequel was pretty boring). It certainly was violent, but it was so far over the top it became comic book violence. Thankfully, it was not nearly as gory as I had been led to expect, not nearly as graphic as Mel's Passion.

However, Schilling's description applies equally to a lot of the books I read. The violence itself can become funny, as in Gun Monkeys, to name one of Donna's many good examples. She also has a good point about darkness and humor having very diiferent ratios, and ways of relating to each other, in different hands. It's all in the depiction.


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This archive was generated by hypermail 2b29 : 23 Oct 2004 EDT