|Title:||A Colt is My Passport|
Other Movies Seen By This Director (0)
|09.24.07||Alamo South Lamar||This Screening is part of event: FantasticFest 2007|
The first in a three-film retrospective of Nikkatsu Action films of the 60s. This may frustrate some of you and bore others because apparently these films are very hard to find in the US (for instance, as far as everyone in the room knew, tonight was the first time this film had every screened in this country) so... when I talk about how awesome it is you wont be able to easily track it down or catch it when it hits theaters in a few months. Too bad!
A hitman (chipmunk-cheeked Branded to Kill star Jo Shishido) takes out a rival organization's leader but his boss makes peace with the rival's new leader while he hides out in a fishing town. Soon, as terms of the peace agreement, his own men must take Shishido out unless he can find a way out of the country. As a sign of how rare this print is, the english subtitles had to be typed out and manually advanced using a separate projector hooked up to a laptop. The Alamo fashioned a smaller subtitle screen under their main screen so we could read and not have the subs over the picture. It was an awesome little setup (I wish every subbed film was presented this way but, As Lars noted when David made that exact comment, sometimes we can't choose. heh heh) and I was sort of constantly aware of how small a chance of me ever seeing this movie again was.
You know how I wrote about Crazy Thunder Road last night and how it was like the Japanese translation of "the biker film"? Well this is very similar but it's the Japanese translation of "the hard-boiled crime film." AND "the Italian western film." It's a VERY interesting mix of styles and comes out so potent as to possibly be more hard-boiled that the stuff it takes from. Kind of like using the essential oils of something instead of the actual ingredient.
It's great though. Absolutely great and I loved it. In the intro, author Mark Schilling noted that the film kind of goes off its rails for the last twenty minutes or so and gets super crazy. Well, I'm not sure what he meant by "off the rails" but if he was going for "becomes the best thing ever" then he was pretty dead on. Once Shishido trades his safe escape for his friend's, he tries to figure a strategy for the duel to come. Using intelligence and surveilance, he painstakings make a bomb and devises a plan on how to take out the group of shooters that will come after him. It's pretty much dialogue-free and so filled with awesomeness much like a Melville procedure, Hitchcock suspense or Dassin heist. It's like the film starts off in a wide shot (in a story sense) and through the movie narrows and narrows until its fetishistically close to Shishido, watching his every move.
The Spaghetti Western influences come in through the music certainly but also the direction and staging and shot composition. Lots of tight close-ups, eyes, formal posturing, iconic shots and looks, etc. During the end duel, we see Shishido standing on the horizon and the camera pulls back but instead of being in between a gunman's legs we're in between a BMW's wheels: it's a high-noon face off but it's man vs. car. It's still a great great shoot-out though.
So this is part of an 8-film series playing NYC in a week or two. The only guy I know that lives there is probably too busy/uninterested to make time to see it but if any of you stranger google people reading this live there and this sounds at all decent to you, look it up and see it for yourself. It's really a great film.
So... the midnight spot was clear save "Fantastic Fued with Scott Weinberg." It's a horror trivia game with Scott as the host and Devin as co-host/scorekeeper and teams of 8 battling it out against one another. There was a decent turn-out and, although I'm still not really sure of the rules of this game, it was hilarious seing everyone play it. I believe Lars got genuinely pissed at the looseness of the game and at least two answers were challenged (that's what happens when you play horror trivia with guys like Lars and Zack). I think out of all the questions they asked (and there were a lot) I knew a half dozen and would've gotten one more with 5 minutes to think about it. The teams were sort of neck and neck until the final round when Fango-writer Matt Kiernan got up against John Carpenter (no, not THAT John Carpenter) and had to trade off directors of the Halloween, Friday the 13th, and Nightmare on Elm St. movies. Matt was like a machine with those!!!! I was amazed. Everybody was amazed. It was amaZING. I have no idea how he knows all that crap but... good for him!
Directly after that, people started singing karaoke and drinking free beer. It was fun for a bit (Zack's rendition of Rebel Yell was spot-on and hilarious) but after three horrible songs I saw that it wasn't ending anytime soon and wouldn't help me in my fight against oncoming germs any if I stayed and shouted conversation and drank enough beers to sing so I bailed. And then I wrote. And now I sleep.