Monday, August 13, 2007


Can you believe I'm still talking about last Tuesday? The second movie I saw that night was Ichikawa Kon's WWII bummer Fires on the Plain (Nobi, 1959).* Tamura (Eiji Funakoshi) is being bounced between a regiment intolerant of his tuberculosis and a striped-down medical hospital refusing patients who can stand. Dispatched to the hospital yet again, he is ordered not to return: he will stay until the hospital admits him or take his own life. It's moot: after one night camping with other soldiers too ambulatory for hospitalization, the medical tents are bombed. Only those triaged across the street are fit enough to escape. This instigates a long second act following Tamura and other walking wounded through the vicious confusion of a lost battleground. The Japanese army has been routed in the Philippines. Soldiers wander the landscape, cut off, seeking formation, then information, and then food. Tamura keeps spying plumes of smoke as he wanders abandoned villages and embattled roadsides. He doesn't know if this is a good or bad sign. Neither can he necessarily trust the friends he's making or the meat they are eating. This is a powerful and harsh movie, and if I may coin a sub-genre of "battlefield drifter" cinema, possibly this movie started a movement. Yesterday, Sunshine and I saw a late evening showing of James Cameron's crucial sci-fi action figure the Terminator (1984),* a movie it's probably unnecessary to review. It was a real treat to see this now, the halfway point between the year it depicts and the future it predicted. Watching the cast flounce around in feathered eighties hair works extraordinarily well as a time capsule here, ripening the movie's central conceit into a far more satisfying state than maybe originally intended. While I'm still coining, how about: "postperiod piece"? [Cavin]

Then, a 2 sided conversation ensued...

To which Blogger qemuel added:

Terminator in the theater?! Damn it, I'll bet that was a hoot! Color me jealous...

"And he absolutely will not stop! EVER! Until you are DEAD!"

Tuesday, August 14, 2007 6:42:00 PM  
To which Blogger Ellie added:

That is pretty awesome, Cavin.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007 9:26:00 PM  

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