Saturday, September 12, 2020

Fighting Elegy

In Erections

"You must break school rules one by one to be brave!" — Set by Kaneto Shindō in 1935 at two rural boys' military academies, Fighting Elegy [Kenka elegy, 1966] is perhaps director Seijun Suzuki's most searing denunciation then-to-date of the right-wing militarism that took hold in Japan in the years leading up to the Pacific War or, more broadly, the proliferation of the Axis in World War II. It's also the film in which he most explicitly points to the source of nationalist foment: the "middle schools" operating throughout the country's rural enclaves. The source of the source? Repression, individual and sexual, stemming primarily from institutions such as the macho alpha-male society (erotic transference and release in combat*), organized religion, and family dynamics, nuclear and surrogate. Self-denial, Suzuki suggests, leads to downfall and ultimate defeat (if 'vying''s even in the wheelhouse); abundance, experiential and aesthetic, saves the day. Remarkable, the Scope of the frames, the ingenuity of how (faux) raccord functions in taking us from one scene to the next. Try to see Fighting Elegy on as large a screen as possible: the masochistic acts, the cleats, the tacks, the swinging mace, will be served well: the action will be transubstantial, monsieur.

*e.g., the irrigation well whose muck, as photographed, assumes a semen'y phosphorescence.


No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.