Monday, December 14, 2009

Hausu (1977)



House is a japanese film directed by Nobuhiko Obayashi. The film was the feature-length directing debut for Obayashi, who based the film on an idea from his 7-year-old daughter. Before House, Obaysashi primarily directed television commercials (one of his earlier projects was a series of commercials for "Mandom" cologne featuring American actor Charles Bronson), which is reflected to a certain extent in the glossy directorial style of House.

In the hands of experimental Japanese filmmaker Nobuhiko Obayashi, the tale of seven “unmarried” young high-school girls who, during a school break, travel to a spooky, remote hilltop house to visit the reclusive, mysterious Aunt of one of their fold only to be consumed one at a time by the Ghost-House/Aunt in increasingly novel ways, is escalated into a spastic, phantasmagorical confetti burst of avant-garde techniques and tonalities. Not a minute goes by without some kind of imaginative and spirited experimental visual manipulation or interjection; from kaleidoscopic color schemes, to frame and time altering collage montage, to wild, high-concept mixed media integration (animation, mattes, props, sets, etc), to mini-movie injections (lovingly parodying/mimicking everything from silent film stylistics, to romantic fantasies to obligatory action scenes). Any and all workings of the film form are here incorporatedly warped; from imagery and editing to music and sound to content and presentation. Even the sketches of characters and their respective performances by the actors are hemmed in time with the overall off-the-wall configuration. (Example: Each girl is intentionally drawn with their stock personalities (the musician, the over-weight eater, the athlete, etc) novelly paraded in gleeful iconic irreverence.) The moods and tones of the film are equally melodic in their own discordant tangential way; seamlessly walking the line between comedy, horror and the deadpan aloof. It all adds up to a whole lot of fun. Where else could you see a girl eaten by a piano, an upright Bear having dinner at a roadside noodle-stand or a man turned into a pile of bananas because he doesn’t like melons? With all its packed in candy-colored confections and novel door prizes, “Hausu” is a cinematic surprise party all in one…just add you.

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2 comments:

Emory said...

Man I keep coming to your blogs because you post some of the most interesting, creative, inspiring film pieces I've seen. Happily there are lots of great film, music, comic blogs out there, but yours, and this one in particular, stands out as one I keep learning from and being amazed by. Keep it up with your six blogs! 'cause we're watching, you got to be one of the most original bloggers out there.
Can't wait to watch HAUSU now.

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