Saturday, 13 July 2013
The Man Who Left His Will on Film 
The Man Who Left His Will on Film was Oshima’s cryptic, self-reflexive and discursive treatise on memory and nature of identity, as well as a tongue-in-cheek exposition on the role of radical politics in cinema and vice-versa. Drawing parallels with Resnais’ mind-bending classic Last Year at Marienbad would be natural given its freewheeling style, formal avant-gardism and thematic elements. The film begins with a POV shot of a nameless guy with a Bolex camera who jumps off a building for seemingly no reason. The shaggy-haired and perennially angry Motoki (Kazuo Goto), who belongs to a group of underground left-wing activists, becomes obsessed with the seemingly mundane shots the guy had captured on film before committing suicide – he doesn’t just want to find the meaning of the images, but also recreate the exact shots. And in this deeply existential quest joins the dead guy’s lover, the cute looking and eerily placid Yasuko (Emiko Iwasaki). But, the film’s nowhere as simple as that. The identity of the dead filmmaker is so fluid that it’s impossible to be sure whether or not he even existed – he might be from an alternate history, a figment of the character’s mind, a powerful abstraction and symbol for the two aimless youths or just an elaborate joke concocted by Oshima. Throw in some wryly humorous take on armchair intellectualism and left-wing political activism sprung from the desire to change the world, alternated with sharp social commentary, spiritual rambling, deftly sensual touches, and a stylized play on the medium itself, and what one gets is this simultaneously cerebral, chaotic, amusing, and frustrating piece of work.
Director: Nagisa Oshima
Genre: Drama/Political Drama/Surreal Drama/Avant-Garde/Experimental Film