Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Short Peace (2013) (part 2)

Yesterday, we talked about "Possessions". Today, it's the second piece.

Hi-no-youjin "Combustible"

This is the strongest piece in the anthology and one of the most beautiful things I've seen in a long time. It even won the Grand Prize at the 16th Japan Media Arts Festival Awards. There are a couple of really breath-taking sequences and by the end, I was crying. Also, please god, let them put the music by Makoto Kubota on any soundtrack that comes out.



This piece starts with a scroll. Which opens and shows us a traditional wood-cut print from the Edo Period.

Subtitles would be really handy here, as I'm sure we're all missing out of some important back-story.

Starting off as childhood friends and neighbors, Owaka (her name means “to flash" in Hawaiian) and Matsuyoshi are delightfully in love.

Look at their adorable little Shichigosan-shaved heads!

There's three events where the kids spend time together, so that's going to have to fill in for them growing up.

One night, while there's a fire raging on the other end of town, Matsuyoshi sneaks out, through Owaka's parents' back yard. He's so dashing!

. Eventually, Owaka is a lovely young lady and her folks are talking to other folks about her getting married.

Yes, the scroll borders are there the whole time. After a bit, you don't see them.

She's not too keen on the idea, but those are her parents' wishes, so that's what's going to happen. She cries and thinks about her childhood friend, with whom she use to play by the well. (There's even a purple iris by the scroll of the well. Purple iris represents loyalty).

Oh, but what has become of him?

He's been getting some ink.

Apparently, he's joined a group that identifies with tattooing. This is a great disgrace to his father, who throws things.

He stops by to see Owaka and let her know what's up. She tells him about her impending wedding. Oh, such tragedy!

But she really cleaned up on gifts!

Owaka is passing the time with a little tou sen kyou, but her heart's just not in it. She's getting married tomorrow (and what a great kimono!), but she does not love the person she's marrying. She throws fans without even looking.

I'm pretty sure that's a disqualification.

Oh dang! One of the fans lands in a floor lamp. That's a candle inside a tube of paper, to which someone just inadvertently introduced a thing made out of bamboo and paper. I wonder what will happen to the room made of paper?

Well, rather than run away, this loving fool decides to close the door and face her kimono.

Yes, let's bring lamps to the fire.

The fire brigade! Yay! This is also when the music really picks up and it's just stunning, incorporating the alarm bells that are ringing all over town. You get the full sense of urgency.

That escalated quickly.

This is one of the first moments in this movie where I just had to gasp. With the pounding of the drums and the way the camera comes over the rooftop, it's just stunning. I would imagine that on a big screen, it's even better. I'm glad it won an award.

Matsuyoshi's on the scene! He's with the fire brigade and they're going to take out a few key buildings. He looks around and sees the well where he used to play with his childhood friend, but, oh! Where is Owaka?

There she is.

Well, he tries to rescue her, but it's no good. There's just too much fire. They run around on the rooftops a bit more. Matsuyoshi has a bit of a plan, but now, buildings are collapsing from the fire. They haven't much time.

It's a good thing silk isn't flammable.

Crazy girl has decided to climb a tower instead of do anything that might save her life. Why, if she survives this, she might still have to marry that guy, if he's still alive.

Meanwhile the fire brigade is taking out a building.

In every great anime, something falls apart.

That might save some of the city, but a collapsing building has a tendency to force out all the air that was in it. This "fans the flames", so to speak. Owaka is climbing the tower, Matsuyoshi is yelling for her to come down, and then everything goes to hell.

It was a lovely kimono.

With the drums and flute and everything, I'm just crying. It's so sad and stupid and kids in love dumb and lives were destroyed. A cautionary tale on all fronts.

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