A voice from our audience pipes up with interesting commentary about recently screened films in the Imamura series. The third film, “My Second Brother” is here contrasted with Monday’s film, “Pigs and Battleships.”
Modesty requires that the aforementioned audience member remain anonymous.
“My Second Brother was ok, but had a cartoonish, “Mayberry” quality to the characters. Everyone was struggling, but noble and always-willing to help. Everyone was one-dimensional. The only character that had any depth, the ostensibly evil old crone, was at times amiable, even likeable, certainly more for comic relief than anything else.
Pigs and Battleships also portrayed people on the edge of poverty, in a post-feudal world that hadn’t modernized yet. But, unlike Second Brother, it was populated by the venal and avaricious, the cruel and psychopathic, the murderous, the foolish, the bumbling idiots, the desperate, beaten sex workers and a lovely co-star who wasn’t merely impure she was not unwilling to be a whore. The Americans were portrayed as boorish, violent oafs who treated the women as sexual chattel or were grifters who predictably abandoned and ripped off their Japanese co-criminals who then proceeded to betray each other. The protagonist was likeable even adorable (the lead in Stolen Desire and Second Brother) but he was a stupid, foolish man with a streak of hubris that would have made Demosthenes happy. There was the father, a loser, a drunk and an embarrassment to his son. It had a gun fight and best of all it had death by hog trampling!”
The careful film-goer will note that we have plenty of stupid, hubris-streaked, Demosthenes-pleasing characters in the weeks to come. I am unsure how many hog tramplings are included.