Strange Films from Asia

For many, Asia is the motherload of the strange.  I am not so sure though.  On the one hand, I suspect that many people confuse simple cultural difference with ‘strangeness’ – but on the other, there does seem to be a certain something going on.  A curious magic for the strange-lover.

Executive Koala – Minoru Kawasaki

Executive Koala

Hallucinatory and taut horror film – trippy in the extreme and utterly terrifying . . . well, it would be if it wasn’t a screwy comedy featuring a man in a Koala suit.  My head hurts . . .

FLCL – Yōji Enokido, Kazuya Tsurumaki, Gainax, Production I.G, etc.

FLCL

Quite possibly one of the weirdest, cleverest trips ever created by the mind of humanity. This is one of the reasons Japanese Animation shakes the world.  be warned: long essay!  Because i refused to bow down to the old saying that anyone who understands FLCL is lying.  I don’t ‘understand’ it but I can at least try!

Gusha no bindume /Hellevator: The Bottled Fools – Hiroki Yamaguchi

Hellevator

The ultimate trapped elevator fantasy as a lurid dose of Japanese Cyberpunk ultraviolence.  A seriously weird and hallucinatory trip with superb visuals and some of the very worst of human nature and human society in glorious detail.  In short – it’s a freakin’ nightmare in every respect.

Warm Water Under a Red Bridge – Shōhei Imamura

Warm Water under a Red Bridge

Delicate and charming love story with touches of magic realism and one very strange slant that only the japanese could have come up with.

EXTE: Hair Extensions – Sion Sono

EXTE: Hair Extensions

Totally whacked out horror comedy about hair and hairdressing – as lunatic a film as they come and filled with both laugh out loud and cringe-worthy moments.

Hatsujô kateikyôshi: sensei no aijiru / The Glamorous Life of Satchiko Hanai – Mitsuru Meike

The Glamorous Life of Satchiko Hanai

One totally bonkers Pink film with one of the most outrageous plots i have ever seen. A cheerful call girl, the disembodied finger of George W Bush and a North Korean agent – plus lots of sex of course. And somehow it all works.

Jisatsu Sâkuru (Suicide Circle / Suicide Club) – Sion Sono

Suicide Circle

Superb Japanese horror film that is not supernatural, not slasher or crazy psycho.  Instead it is that super-rare type of horror that manages to be something else entirely and becomes an important allegory about life as we know it.

Tokyo X Erotica – Takahisa Zeze

Tokyo X Erotica

Beautiful, quietly psychedelic and surreal erotic film with very innovative storytelling.  Exquisitely shot.

Stacy – Naoyuki Tomomatsu

Stacy

Tongue in cheek zombie movie that really manages to pull off some crazy social satire.  A heavy dose of J-pop culture and genuinely inventive film making going on in here.  Very silly film and very haunting in some unexpected ways, which is a weird mix.

Seom (The Isle) – Kim Ki-duk

The Isle - Kim Ki-duk

Sad and very haunting, harsh and unforgettable love story, with beautiful cinematography.

Gokudô kyôfu dai-gekijô: Gozu – Takashi Miike

Gokudô kyôfu dai-gekijô: Gozu

Marvelously weird tricksterish romp – Miike at his best and displaying the purest essence of his jokester soul. An insane trip that actually manages to surprise and leaves you wondering how the hell you go to where you get to.

964 Pinocchio – Shozin Fukui

964 Pinocchio

Unique ‘underground’ film filled with absurdism, remarkable surreal imagery and madcap performances

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