Princess Raccoon (2005) (Japan)

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Re: Princess Raccoon (2005) (Japan)

Postby trevor826 » Thu Jun 15, 2006 10:35 am

They always get the best and greatest variety of films plus they have a great choice of many specialist cinemas. I am particularly annoyed though that the only cinema that will be screening Princess Racoon is the ICA in London, especially since a certain Seijun Suzuki will be in attendance at a special preview screening on June 29th.

So if you live in or near London, don't miss out on this very special exclusive screening.

Cheers Trev.
trevor826
 


Re: Princess Raccoon (2005) (Japan)

Postby A » Thu Jun 15, 2006 1:17 pm

I have very fond memories of my two-week stay in London when I was 18. And some great film-viewings are part of it. From the dozen films I saw, many have since become favorites. One memorable experience was watching Baise-moi in the cinema, because all the tickets for Amelie were sold out. Half of the people attending the screening walked out, and the rest were probably initially as shocked and clueless as myself. When I watched King Kong at the BFI on the other hand, this was one of a handful of film-experiences where absolutely the whole audience sat mesmerized and in awe before the screen.
I didn't have the privilege of seeing and listening to Seijun Suzuki, though.
But as I remember the ticket prizes were at some venues ridiculously high.
A
 

Re: Princess Raccoon (2005) (Japan)

Postby arsaib4 » Thu Jun 15, 2006 8:42 pm

That's encouraging to hear because a recent report indicated that Mr. Suzuki was very ill. Princess Raccoon is available on DVD with subs if anyone is interested.

How about Panahi's Offside, Trev? Is it playing in a theater near you?
arsaib4
 

Re: Princess Raccoon (2005) (Japan)

Postby trevor826 » Sat Jun 17, 2006 2:30 pm

No luck with Offside, I checked Artificial Eye's site and unfortunately Cardiff isn't on the list for screenings.

I was hoping that at least it would get a chance in the Chapter but it's a no-show.

Cheers Trev.
trevor826
 

Re: Princess Raccoon (2005) (Japan)

Postby arsaib4 » Sat Oct 28, 2006 2:42 pm

Princess Raccoon is tentatively scheduled to appear on DVD in the U.S. later this year. (As Trevor pointed out in the DVD forum, the U.K. DVD from Yume Pictures, who also just released Suzuki's Pistol Opera, is now available.)
arsaib4
 

Re: Princess Raccoon (2005) (Japan)

Postby arsaib4 » Sun Nov 19, 2006 6:31 am

The U.S. release date is Jan 16th.
arsaib4
 

Princess Raccoon (2005) (Japan)

Postby trevor826 » Mon Jan 01, 2007 8:47 pm

Princess Raccoon (2005) Operetta Tanuki Goten

Directed by Seijun Suzuki

Starring Zhang Ziyi, J Odagiri, Hiroko Yakushimaru

First things first, this is a film that youll either love or hate, I honestly dont think theres much middle ground here.

Frantically edited, bursting with colour and filled with songs from start to finish with a mish-mash of styles ranging from opera to j-pop to rap and beyond. Cheaper than cheap special effects and gloriously, riotously lurid in every possible way

The actual plot comes straight of Shakespeare, Romeo and Juliet of course, add in a bit of Snow White but with a real Japanese twist. A human prince (J Odagiri) is banished from his homeland by his father who is completely obsessed with his own narcissism. Rescued by a raccoon princess, its not long before the pair fall in love despite the fact that man and raccoon cannot love each other and vice versa. Naturally the course of true love (particularly inter-species) doesnt run smoothly and death ensues, again and again and..

The majority of the film has a very theatrical feel, like watching a Kabuki show, loud brash and exaggerated. The odd bursts into the real world feel out of place but make use (as many Japanese films do) of the coastline. Though considering the simple but stylish artistic effects used throughout the rest of the film I dont really understand why they didnt use the same techniques for these sections.

The whole film has the depth of a pantomime but delves into Japanese myth and mystique, the raccoons as a species are not related in any way to the North American mammals, they are actually Tanuki or raccoon dogs. In Japanese mythology, the tanuki have the same magical properties as foxes, being able to transform their shape, even being able to appear in human form (these properties are also made use of in the Ghibli studio anime Pom Poko), the males are also noted for the rather large size of their testicles. It is in this human form that the prince falls for Princess Raccoon.

The tanuki are creatures who live with nature and lead a joyous existence but are always watchful of humans who are seen as a plague and a destructive force. Religion plays its part as well as the tanuki follow the traditional shinto buddhist beliefs while the humans show the influence of the West with a weird mix of Catholicism (which is used to summon evil) plus traditional beliefs.

Unlike Memoirs of a Geisha, there was no outcry with the casting of Zhang Ziyi as the tanuki princess, there could be several reasons for this but certainly the fact that in this romp she plays a princess who was invited to join the tanuki clan from Cathay (China), plus of course, the biggest issue with Memoirs was that Chinese actresses were playing that most Japanese of traditions, the geisha.

So in summing up, if you enjoy the lurid side of Japanese culture as seen in Kabuki and often in anime, if you can laugh with sheer joy at the ludicrous and at times banal lyrics of the songs, if you appreciate artistry with very little purpose but with a deep appreciation of Japanese culture then you will almost certainly enjoy Princess Raccoon. If not then youd be better off steering well clear of this insane pastiche.

Personally, I loved it.

Cheers Trev

BBFC rated PG.

Region 2 dvd released by Yume Pictures.

The transfer is great and extras include a fun making of doc and an exclusive UK interview with Seijun Suzuki, I was hoping the interview would have been about Princess Raccoon but it covers his career and work from his days with Shochiku and Nikkatsu upto present day, very interesting though.
trevor826
 

Re: Princess Raccoon (2005) (Japan)

Postby jcdavies » Mon Jan 01, 2007 9:12 pm

Good one Trevor. From what you're saying about raccoon dog testicles, it's probably just as well it's a female in the film! And Zhang Ziyi is very welcome. I really liked the film too- my favourite by Suzuki in fact. It's a different style from his 60's gangster films- his also recent Pistol Opera has similar theatricality, interesting sets and colours, and equally odd. Worthwhile comparison with Kwaidan, though this is much more eccentric. More like Kwaidan meets Wayward Cloud gaudy musical numbers, and more besides. Should get a cult following, ssential viewing.
jcdavies
 

Re: Princess Raccoon (2005) (Japan)

Postby trevor826 » Tue Jan 02, 2007 10:29 pm

Glad you also enjoyed it John, I haven't had the pleasure of seeing Pistol Opera but I believe it's getting a dvd release here soon. I liked your comparison, Kwaidan meets Wayward Cloud gaudy musical numbers. And I'm sure it will become a cult film down the years, I just hope it's not the last we see from Suzuki.

Cheers Trev.
trevor826
 

Re: Princess Raccoon (2005) (Japan)

Postby jcdavies » Tue Jan 02, 2007 11:12 pm

By coincidence a friend at work saw this last night; she was following an earlier list i'd given her of my recommended Japanese films. This morning it was "i've got a bone to pick with you....i couldn't make head or tail of it" . I mentioned your comment about love or hate it and it was the riskiest on my list. Still, she was one of the very few ordinary people i've come across (outside websites, film socs etc) who is not only very interested in Japanese films, but had actually heard of Mizoguchi- and had even seen Sansho-, so i'm still very hopeful for her.
jcdavies
 

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