Director: Sono Sion
Screenplay : Sono Sion, Kumakiri Kazuyoshi
Photography : Hiroo Yanagida
Mounting : Sh ū ichi Kakesu
Music : Harada Tomohide
Running Time: 103 mins
Release Date: 11/11/2006
Score: ★★★★☆ 4/5
Origin of Hazard is a true story, a murder in a New York S & M club that pushes Sono Sion to set his story in New York.
A already started filming, however, distorts the script and the film becomes a kind of diary of the protagonist Shinichi, who, to find himself, should get lost in the rough heart of an America mythologized, violent, unjust, racist but living a seamless and engaging turmoil, a far cry from Japan “asleep but impatient,” as many times in the course of the film the voice of a child who accompanies the various stages of this adventure.Apathetic and restless it is, in fact, the same Shin, still, indeed, free from reactions, isolated in his universe, his eyes distracted from the reality of the world, at least until it realizes that his future is in New York. Are focused on him from the first moment, the character “marginal” in the sense beloved by Japanese director, namely acute observer and seeker despite his who gives us his eyes and conveys our gaze towards details otherwise destined to to get lost. The result is a vibrant point of view of a constantly moving camera and at the same time accomplice, near and far, as the hero who seeks the right distance between himself and the things around him and the right proximity to the people who meets. His gestures are questions left to be lost in the air, dreaming of flying to escape, first of all from himself, from that twin brother who says he left Tokyo “same as me but different, coward and always frightened by life “. Untiring race Shin, Lee and Takeda and rhythmic repetition of escapes and raids, lies a careful portrait of the three protagonists, of which I am cares defining each one in the accuracy of his character and their desires. That’s why the story seems fragmented: in this fine line that runs through the film, the “interference” have the active and digs deep into thoughts and learn more about the three boys. To do that, I act on time, it stops him in a sort of continuous suspension: slow motion, flashbacks, dream images represent the desire to displace the continuity and follow another narrative model, based on the characters and not the stories. That’s what the many details on the human and urban landscape that the three live and pass through. The puddles on the roads, the men sitting on the edge of the sidewalks, the plastic bags waving on the outskirts trees, dilapidated buildings, and then the details on the faces, eyes, objects, certain words underlined. Or the view of the town, described as if to pay homage to an image of New York offered by some American independent cinema of the eighties and nineties, with the rapid transformations, dizziness, sudden silences, the graininess of the video that looks rough .
It seems that I’ve shot Hazard without asking the necessary authorizations and permissions to film on location, on a set characterized by many misadventures and economic problems that were prolonged over the years, to the point that the film, shot in 2002, he finally found the way of distribution only in 2005 and came out in Japanese theaters in late 2006. This condition of “illegal immigration” is reflected on the form, and the use of hand-held camera without artificial lights turns out to be a decisive choice for the success of a film capable of building a sense of intimacy, despite the bustle and life seemingly all outward conduct by three friends. The verses of Walt Witman shouted against the lighted skyscrapers of New York, is a perfect image to represent the whole film, not only because it is the splendid poetic temptation of every foreigner to define this city in later conflicts between the periphery and his heart, but also to the idea of mastery of the spaces made from it. There is no conflict, but the ability to dominate an environment that would be hostile to them. New York have at hand and be able to watch from a distance makes them feel vital part of a universe of their dreams, but at the same time puts them in the position of having to shoulder the necessary space to escape. Like children in a huge amusement park (and there is music to remind us with exact punctuality), where you have fun without thinking, but where you learn to recognize sorrows and anxieties.
“These are only able to see a penny as such. I, however, I can see this penny as $ 100, like a million dollars, “says Lee Shin after a vagrant refused their pennies. It will be this the greatest lesson that the young will bring back home. That invisible penny is a small object which can push the film beyond its own limits. All of the final is composed as one long sequence in which Shin back through his New York adventure, finding the places and people he met. Everything becomes more distant slowly, everything seems to be precipitated in the distant past.