Dreams Never End

As a historical document, 24 Hour Party People may be most meaningful to fans whose epiphanies were experienced at least one remove away—at a different place or time. In the movie's great goosebump moment, Wilson proposes that Joy Division subject the result of their session with producer Martin Hannett to the ultimate test: They go for a spin, the crystalline ambience of "She's Lost Control" shimmering from the speakers. On this brief, indelible joyride, the impossible tension of the music acquires a context, and it's more than postindustrial decay: This is the no-exit sound of claustrophobia colliding with agoraphobia, of breaking point stretched to infinity, of driving in circles in the sallow twilight.

Takashi Miike's The Happiness of the Katakuris (a New York premiere screening as part of Anthology's two-week Miike festival) is a more traditional musical than 24 Hour Party People—if traditional is in any way an apt description for a movie that opens with the exclamation "My uvula!" The closest the Japanese terrormonger has come to family entertainment, Katakuris (one of seven films he made last year) finds Miike's bloodlust temporarily restrained—he even switches decorously to claymation for the more violent episodes.

Zippy kindergarten postmodernism: Coogan in 24 Hour Party People
photo: United Artists
Zippy kindergarten postmodernism: Coogan in 24 Hour Party People


24 Hour Party People
Directed by Michael
Written by Frank Cottrell Boyce
United Artists
Opens August 9

Miike Mania!
August 8 through 22 at Anthology Film Archives

The Katakuri clan, innkeepers who live on the depopulated slopes of Mount Fuji, band together with tuneful Von Trapp-like determination when their guests keep turning up dead. The most rousing numbers arrive early: Upon discovery of the first body, reaction shots are given the full music-video treatment, replete with dry ice and blue light. In a trippy, literally levitating romantic duet, the daughter is wooed by an alleged U.S. Navy pilot, who later claims to be from the British royal family and speaks warmly of "Aunt Elizabeth."

"Miike Mania!" also includes Audition, the Venus-flytrap splatter flick that induced fainting spells at Film Forum last summer, and another local debut, The City of Lost Souls (2000). Again, this is Miike in comparatively gentle mode—a bloody head-dunking, shot from inside an unflushed toilet bowl, is the only scene that might occasion use of your Ichi the Killer promotional sickbag. Rocky race relations, a favorite theme, return with a vengeance: the Japanese vs. the Brazilians vs. the Chinese in the back alleys (and, um, underground caves) of Shinjuku. The film nominally concerns an on-the-lam love story between a Brazilian-Japanese gangster (football star Teah) and an illegal Chinese immigrant (Fallen Angels' Michele Reis), but the plot is muddy and quite beside the point. The almost meditative mood takes center stage; the more eccentric touches include a computer-generated cockfight, feverish cocaine toothbrushing, and a ping-pong duel. Stay for the end credits, which complicate matters with a mystifying homoerotic twist.

Related article:
"Between Factory and Fiction: Making Myths with the Two Biggest Twats in Manchester" by Ryan Gilbey

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