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Sunday, May 09, 2010

DVD Review: Blind Love

Blind Love

Japan 2005
Dir: Daisuke Goto
Starring: Konatsu, Shota Kotagi, Yota Kawase, Horyu Nakamura, Yutaka Ikejima.
DVD Released: 23rd Nov 2009
Cert: NR
Running Time: 65 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1 Non-Anamorphic NTSC
Audio: Japanese DD2.0
Subtitles: English
Distributor: Pink Eiga
Region: 0 NTSC

The Film

Blind Love tells the tale of hard-up, middle-aged, short-arse ventriloquist Daisuke (Shota Kotaki) who performs his old-fashioned routine to almost empty theatres on a nightly basis. He does have one fan though, Hikari (Konatsu), a blind girl who loves the sound of Daisuke's voice. When she finally plucks up the courage to go backstage and meet him she stumbles and falls into the arms of his tall, good looking, young apprentice Yoichi (Yota Kawase) and mistakes him for Daisuke, who plays along in the moment thinking that she might be a nutter of some kind.

Before you know it the guys are taking Hikari out on the town, with Daisuke using Yoichi like a human ventriloquist's dummy. And for a while it's all fun, games and hard drinking until Hikari wants to have sex. Cue the world's most awkward threesome as Daisuke has to make like the invisible man in the corner of the bedroom. Of course Daisuke has actually started to fall in love with Hikari and begins to resent his assistant, not difficult really seeing as Yoichi's pretty much a thoughtless slimebag that'll shag anything in a kimono (and I mean anything, there's a terrifying scene involving a fat chick and copious underarm hair). Yoichi causes further damage when he speaks to Hikari on the phone and teases her about her sexual activities implying that Daisuke has been crudely bragging about bedding a blind girl. Thus armed with a pair of massive platform shoes Daisuke sets out to prove his love and win over Hikari......

My only experiences of Pink Eiga before this feature were two instalments of the Groper Train series; weird, wacky,very sleazy and occasionally quite funny. So finding this one to be a well thought out, funny, almost sweet, low budget indie rom-dramedy dressed up as a Japanese softcore sleaze flick is quite a pleasant surprise. It still contains the requisite sex scenes but they are very much incidental to the overall plot, if a tad lengthy. It is essentially a re-imagining of Cyrano de Bergerac trampling on Chaplin's Limelight dragged kicking and screaming through a Von Trier/Dogme flick (via it's bittersweet ending) unbelievably enough! Not without it's flaws, mainly due to it's low budget and rushed production I'm sure but I'd be very curious indeed to discover what director Daisuke Goto could do with a proper budget and a shot at the mainstream.

The Disc

Another soft 1.85:1 non-anamorphic transfer with hard-matted English subtitles from Pink Eiga. Standard 2.0 Japanese language audio mix.

Extras - Based around the film's screening at the New York Asian Film Festival this disc contains a surprising and very informative package of special features.

Audio commentary with director Daisuke Goto and cinematographer Masahide Iioka recorded the day after the NYAFF screening, it's a breezy, very enjoyable discussion about all aspects of the production and even a few quite amusing anecdotes, worth noting there are no English subs for this track, however a spoken English translation track is included.

Interview with director Daisuke Goto, running at 18 minutes this is a very frank chat with Daisuke ranging from his early career to the Japanese film industry to his Pink movies and finally to his memories of making Blind Love.

Interview with cinematographer Masahide Iioka, clocking in at 10 minutes, discussions mainly centers on Masahide's experience of working with Daisuke and technical info on making Blind Love.

Introduction to Blind Love, is a brief intro with Daisuke and Masahide filmed just before the NYAFF screening in front of the audience.

Q&A with Daisuke Goto, was filmed right after the screening. Here the NYAFF audience get to ask the director and his cinematographer a few questions. Runs for 13 mins.

Plus there are also a few text based bios about the actors and director, an original theatrical trailer, photo gallery.

A fun little film about people obsessed with self-loathing finding love!

Review by Giuseppe Rijitano

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