Casshern * Kazuaki Kiriya * 2004

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However this film may be ‘the Japanese Sin City’ (it is also a film made of a comic), the approach is quite different. Still, also in “Casshern” there are computer stages, weird colours, etc., but the persons look more human than in “Sin City” and “Casshern” is a lot darker (yes, a lot darker than “Sin City”), but also a lot more ‘bombastic’. I don’t quite follow the logic in the film (do Japanese have another sense of logic?), but the story is something like this: in the future Asia has conquered the European lands and formed a big empire. There is rebellion in one of the European parts of “Eurasia” and an ongoing war. A professor discovers a new gene-technology that should make it easy to ‘repair damaged soldiers’, since he can breed hands and limbs, etc. This experiment runs out of hand and mutants walk out of the laboratory. These mutants call themselves ‘neo-sapiens’ and decide to take revenge on the human race. A massive war with some ‘supernatural’ elements is caused.
The film begins a bit dreamy with bright colours and a strange atmosphere that reminds me a bit of the Japanese film “Dolls” (reviewed elsewhere). The war scenes are very grim and depressive (but not too good) and especially when the war between the mutants and mankind begins, the film gets very dark. The director obviously wants to show the crazyness and futility of war and to show that the battle between ‘good’ and ‘evil’ is not as black-and-white as you may think. As in other Eastern films there are long ‘philosophical’ scenes about why mankind always makes war, etc. The film is sometimes quite realistic, here and there you get 2-dimensional comic scenes, but most of the time there are over-the-top stages with bright colours, comic action and weird characters. The film is overwhelming, but with the grim atmosphere not a pleasant watch. Also with the confusing story (who is who, what is happening?) I definately need to watch this film again, maybe it will make a bit more sense. But “Casshern” (which means ‘guardian angel’ by the way) surely isn’t the average film and also I think it is not (like “Sin City”) for the big audience. Watch it and be surprised by the weirdness of Japanese filmmaking!

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