The Duel Project.
After the completion of their sections for Jam Films, a compilation of short films by some of Japans newer directors, Shinya Kawai the producer, challenged Yukihiko Tsutsumi and Ryuhei Kitamura, to each create a feature length movie with only two actors, one location and filmed entirely in one week.
The Duel Project, as it became known turned into a competition with audiences in Japan voting for their favourite. The films, 2LDK by Yukihiko Tsutsumi and Aragami from Ryuhei Kitamura were the result.
Directed by Yukihiko Tsutsumi
Starring Maho Nonami, Eiko Koike
A black comedy about two aspiring actresses sharing a flat, the 2LDK of the title, 2Bedrooms, Living room, Dining room and Kitchen. Both have been told that they are up for the lead role in a film, obviously they both see this as their big break, the last thing either want is to be rejected in favour of their flatmate.
After a slow build up of increasingly bitchy remarks all hell breaks loose, cleaning products, food in-fact anything available to hand becomes a weapon, even a chainsaw. Fanciful but humorous and entertaining, in my mind the better of the two films and the actresses performances were terrific, they really threw themselves into the roles.
If you like black comedy you will really enjoy this.
BBFC rating none yet, maybe 15 but probably 18
Directed by Ryuhei Kitamura
Starring Takao Osawa, Masaya Kato
Although in form it could be classed as a Jidaigeki, this is listed here because it is part of a project. Aragami is a mountain dwelling demon with a human form, waiting for the warrior that will end its existence and take its place.
Two badly wounded Samurai enter its lair, two days later only one of them is alive and has recovered well from his injuries, his saviour who unknown to him is the Aragami challenges him to a duel slowly revealing who or what he is.
The rest of the film is basically one long fight but it is directed with style, flair and imagination, blades spark against each other in the darkness interspersed with sometimes witty often meaningless dialogue, if you enjoyed Azumi and Versus you will definitely enjoy this.
I found this the weaker of the two films, more style than substance, it actually came top in the voting in Japan but that could be because the films were shown at sci-fi and manga conventions.
BBFC rating none yet, probably 15
Available on Region 1 & 3 DVD, soon available on Region 2 from Tartan video.