Princess Raccoon (PG)
Time Out says
Tue Jun 27 2006A cult favourite thanks to delirious, inventive, expressionist-tinged ’60s gangster flicks like ‘Branded to Kill’ and ‘Tokyo Drifter’, the now octogenarian maverick director Seijun Suzuki came out of directorial retirement with the idiosyncratic ‘Pistol Opera’ in 2001. For his latest extravaganza, he places a modernist spin on the fairytale, offering a sometimes bewildering and visually stunning tale of young romantic love between Ziyi Zhang’s ‘spiritual’ titular princess and the banished son (dreamboat Jo Odigari) of gloriously fearsome Mikijiro Hara’s Lord of Grace Castle.
You have to admire the veteran’s energy. Much of the action here is staged against beautifully designed lithographic backdrops – think Syberberg on LSD – with Yonezo Maeda’s swooping camera often descending from the gods like in a Busby Berkeley musical. Kabuki and Noh theatre vies with rock’n’roll musical and rap opera; balletic mise-en-scène with camp Jarmanesque anachronisms as medieval court figures fight and make out with mythic beasts, shape-shifting spirits and demons.
The kitsch spectacle of ‘Princess Raccoon’ dazzles the eye, though the emotions are little engaged, while the intellect gets slowly frazzled.
Author: Wally Hammond