[ Directed by ]
[ Produced by ]
• UTAGAWA Yasushi
• MAMEOKA Ryosuke
• TANABE Keigo
[ Cast ]
• MATSUDA Ryuhei SHINJO
• NISHIJIMA Hidetoshi ASAKAWA
• KORA Kengo NEMOTO
[ Staff ]
• Screenplay: SABU
• Original Story: KOBAYASHI Takiji
• Cinematography: KOMATSU Takashi
• Editor: BANDO Naoya
• Music: MORI Takashi
[ Production Company ]
KANIKOSEN Film Committee
[ Distributor (Japan) ]
Release Date: July 4, 2009
Running Time: 109 min
Screening Format: 35mm
Screen Size: American Vista (1:1.85)
Sound Processing: DTS
[ Story ]
Written some 80 years ago, Kobayashi Takiji’s proletarian literary masterpiece of the same title depicting the misery of laborers toiling in substandard working conditions has seen a resurge in popularity due to today’s widening economic disparity. Director Sabu (Blessing Bell;Dead Run) has reworked the original tale by adding modern elements of black humor and punk culture to the original idea of a workers’ struggle. The story is set aboard the Hakkomaru, a Japanese crab ship at sea off the Kamchatka peninsula that is equipped with an onboard cannery. Workers are forced to perform hard labor for minimal pay, all the while living in fear of tyrannical supervisor Asakawa (Nishijima Hidetoshi). Driven by mounting despair to contemplate mass suicide, a storm comes and rips away some of the workers from the ship and tosses them into the sea, where they are later rescued by a Soviet shipping vessel. Main character Shinjo (Matsuda Ryuhei), astounded by the completely different world that he witnesses aboard the new ship, becomes empowered to stand up and fight for change—and he returns to the Hakkomaru to encourage the others to rise in revolt.
[ Official Site ]
The now penultimate Sabu film (the upcoming release Usagi Drop ) is a kind of breaking cinema, compared to all that you have known and loved this director ( Postman Blues , Monday , Drive , Unlucky Monkey ). The typical circularity of his narration, cyclic repetition of certain negative events, the resulting continuous leaks, and the absurd paradoxes, have given way to a person who is inspired by a famous novel of protest and social revolt.
The novel Kobayashi Takiji is 1929 (trad. It.di Faliero Salis: The peschereggio crabs , Tirrenia-Printers, 2006) and has seen a sudden re-publication, in 2009, given the release of the movie it inspired. Ironically, given that we are talking about cinema, it is the novel that experienced a boom over the past two years and a success, hardly imaginable during his first publication in the twenties.
The story tells of the almost inhuman living conditions of some workers (even if we’re on a ship, you can not but recognize the protagonists the lowest rung of the social level) on board a large imperial ship that has the task to catch crabs and inscatolarne pulp. Their condition almost slave, is shown in a fascinating way at first glance (beautiful photography, beautiful shots) and narrated with multiple reflections on life and misfortune of their respective lives, the loss of a normal state of life, l ‘ abandonment of families, the knowledge that he could not expect more from a society so class and oppressive, and the desire to escape from everything.
It ‘just this desire to escape to give the main inspiration for the conduct of the narrative and of the concatenation of events: attempts to find a solution to this life of hardship and sacrifices by the workers. But, as the place where the story takes place, (not easily escapes from a ship in the ocean) to take shape finally a mad desire for escape, escape from life.
The chosen location for a perfect new beginning is the home of the Kimura family: an idyllic picture overly joyful and forced, where on an emerald green lawn, surrounded by strident colors from flowers and plants, the various workers dream of playing ball.
With the introduction of the theme of suicide, we see the beautiful sequence of the attempt of mass hanging, in which the bodies hanging from nooses swinging in unison in the galley, a prey to the lapping of the wave motion. This is probably the highest moment of the film, where the visual value of the hanging and inert bodies that move as a single entity at the mercy of vessel movements (and thanks to them find salvation from strangulation) contains virtually all the essence of the film.
Actually there is also room for an attempt to escape physical real: a dip in the sea of the two protagonists and the landing of a Russian ship. On board this boat rival, however, (the Soviets also practice fishing for deep-sea crabs and risk, according to the crowds and commanded impassively / slave Japanese, jeopardizing the glorious Japanese empire reputation) the two characters seem come to a sort of ethical enlightenment that will take them far from vanishing desires to return instead to the place of origin of their suffering: the ship. Echoes of Fellini’s memory can be formed in these moments almost dreamlike amidst the joyful dances, carefree and almost clumsy European crew. Light years away from that atmosphere that reigns on the Rising Sun vessel.
The protagonist of this story, played by the talented and popular Matsuda Ry ū hei ( Gohatto , Nightmare Detective , Big Bang Love Juvenile , Izo ) and his companion then find a warm and festive welcome, as well as the possibility of an in-depth exchange of views philosophical / ethical with a Chinese hub which, with its unclear language inflections stuffed up roller, so the lights of Shinjo mind, but a revolutionary fervor, not a desire to escape. The decision to return Japanese vessel will give rise to the sad but necessary denouement, blood wet like every revolution worthy of respect, it seems to be.
Kanik ō sen is brave film, which shows off a real attack on the symbol of the capitalist machine.
Strangely, this courage, is the only thing to which we can try to recognize the traits of film Sabu. Too often, in fact, the visual symbolism, social and political take over, slowing the sheer pace of the narrative. This choice, among other things, characterized by the aid of devices and solutions already used: Can not locate references to Metropolis Lang for the fervor of some crowd scenes, or some references to the movies of Shinya Tsukamoto, about the relationship between man – oppression – machine, well emphasized by shots and light still very well chosen, in addition to the already mentioned Fellini moments.
With Kanik ō sen Sabu is hiding behind the social weight of the moral of this story, but choose to do so representing around in a less than usual staff, although fascinating traits. The ideas are very interesting, the irons in the fire is succulent, but lacks the glue of the author’s character to impregnate the most original work.