Thursday, February 20, 2003

I've just joined a fansite for one of my favourite films, Battle Royale. It's a black comedy, set in the near future, about a class of Japanese teens who are dumped on an island, given weapons (ranging from the deadly to the ineffective) and told that they can only go home if they kill all their classmates. It's a violent, blood-splattered thrill-ride; very funny in places, and very sad in others. Most of my students think I'm nuts for liking what they see as a horrible movie, but most of them haven't seen it. There's something very cool about seeing Japanese high school kids in their military-style school uniforms taking playground war games to their extreme. The film is about the rise in youth crime, and also the way adults try to control and punish kids, who are seen as becoming increasingly wayward and troublesome. The villains in this film are the adults who represent authority, including the fantastic Kitano Takeshi. It's not a nihilistic or mindless film: we root for the kids who band together and try to help each other, and hiss at the ones who go it alone. The director, Kinji Fukasaku, died in January, midway through making Battle Royale II. Apparently, his son is going to complete it. There's no way it will match up to the joyful shock of the first film. If you want to know more, click here.