Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Battle Royale 10th Anniversary Screening on Friday

Fuck!!! The Summer holiday lazies took a pretty strong hold on me this past week and caused me to forget that the NYAFF(New York Asian Film Festival) kicked off this past weekend. Typically, I like to be on top of this shit, but warm weather and summer in the City leads me astray. I've missed a couple of days but I can still provide this audience with the information they may need to enjoy the rest of the series.

It's hard to believe that it's been 10 years since the release of one of my favorite movies of all time. Granted, It took me about a year for me to get my grubby little paws on it. Battle Royale(2000) was the film most responsible for me getting into Japanese horror weirdness over a better part of the last decade. I love this film so much, I even bought the tee shirt, which gets both cheers and jeers from those few who know the masterpiece. Despite it's availability of the DVD, Battle Royale never really received a proper US screening when it was released a decade ago. Thankfully those of us who have longed for the day we get to see it theatrically will have to wait no longer. if you have never seen BR, I strongly urge you to take time out of your Friday drinking schedule to head into Manhattan for the opportunity of a lifetime. And don't pass it off as a run-of-the-mill Japanese gorefest. As awesome as the action and sheer brutality in the film is, the social commentary alone is enough to grab the attention of any art-school stick-in-the-mud.

Subway Cinema says - "The biggest, most important unseen Japanese movie of the past decade, BATTLE ROYALE is finally free to be shown on US screens! The last film from Japan’s master director Kinji Fukasaku (Battles Without Honor and Humanity series, among others), BATTLE ROYALE was a huge hit in Japan and became an underground sensation in America after its distributor took it off the North American market due to fears of copycat crimes in the wake of the Columbine Shootings. But this is not the atrocity exhibition you’ve been led to believe. This is the climax to the career of Japan’s most socially conscious director, a ferocious plea for kids to run from anyone over 30 who wants to put a rifle in their hands and a movie that was born in the hellfire of Fukasaku’s World War II experiences. If you’ve never seen it before, come prepared to be hit hard.

It’s the near future. Every year, a tenth-grade class is selected by lottery and let loose on an island in front of reality TV cameras to participate in the greatest game show of them all: the Battle Royale. The kids are forced to kill each other for the viewing enjoyment of the folks at home, and the last one standing wins the prize: life. When this class wakes up and have weapons put in their hands they’re faced with the stark choice of kill or be killed. Some choose suicide, some form alliances and some decide to kill every single person who crosses their paths.

When Fukasaku was the same age as the kids in this movie, WW II was raging and he worked in a bomb factory, cleaning up the mangled bodies of those killed in air raids. At 71 years old he made BATTLE ROYALE and it’s his passionate warning to those same kids to run from the powers that be. When BATTLE ROYALE was rated so that kids 15 and under couldn’t see it, Fukasaku advised them to sneak into theaters anyways, and we’re saying the same thing to everyone under 18. Sneak out of the house, show your student ID for a cheap ticket and sit down for a movie that’s going to change your life."

Friday, July 8th 9:15 PM @ Japan Society, 333 East 47th Street, at 47th Street and First Avenue

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