Review: Mysterious Skin

Mysterious Skin (US, 2005)
directed by Gregg Araki

Two boys. One can’t remember. The other can’t forget.

0508mysteriousskin.jpgIt’s based on a novel by Scott Heim, about two boys subjected to sexual abuse in their childhood, and their different coping mechanism: Brian has nightmares and blackouts accompanied with nosebleeds of five hours he lost—couldn’t remember—when he was 8 years old, believing that it was a result of an alien abduction. Neil, on the other hand, remembers all too well the time he was seduced and molested by his Little League baseball coach. Brian grew socially awkward, while Neil pretty much flaunting (and hustling) his sexuality to anyone interested (and indeed there were many). Continue reading “Review: Mysterious Skin”

Review: Nobody Knows

Nobody Knows誰も知らない
Nobody Knows (2004)
Hirokazu Kore-eda
(Buy the DVD at

Out of all movies I’ve watched recently, this is by far a favourite (much love and thanks to a friend who sent me the DVD). Apparently it is based on a real 1988 event known as the “Affair of the Four Abandoned Children of Nishi-Sugamo”, fictionally retold. Four children, the oldest aged 12 (Akira), who all came from different fathers, were abandoned by their reckless, immature (though arguably “not unloving”) mother in a tiny apartment. The four children tried their best to survive the helpless descent. Lack of exaggerated drama, awkward captured moments and gestures: refreshing without any farfetched effects or violence. Highly, highly recommended.

Note: Thanks to Dechi for sending me the DVD.

Review: Irréversible

IrréversibleYou’ve heard it: most disturbing, brutal, most walked out, most hated, most feted of 2002, et cetera et cetera, almost banned in Australia (but was aired sometime ago anyway in WorldMovies, where I taped it from). “Memento”-style (oh it’s a style on its own?), as in the plot moving backwards (with the credits at its very beginning). We know it’s an “arthouse”, spinning camera, strobe effect, the notorious 9-minute non-stop static rape scene, the gay S&M club, “The Rectum”.Is it worth watching? The rape scene wasn’t as violent as I was bracing myself for (having been troweling through accounts of war crimes that are my bedtime stories, not because I craved for (Lord forbids) a more preposterous shot). Since when does a 9-minute rape scene become the new art form? Ugh. The kind of “extreme”, “arthouse” film, shocking only to the completely uninitiated, but with a noticeably lack of quotable dialogues that most “extreme films” are so rife with. (”Le temps detruit tout?” Cliché. “There is no bad or good deeds, only deeds?” Oh darling, but Wilde’s done it—a century earlier.)