ASIAN VALUES DVD REVIEW
prostitute offers her rates to a middle-aged man in a bedroom.
While the man seems hesitant, she encourages him to fondle her.
They end up having sex, only that the man is what she calls an
"early bird" (a euphemism for premature-ejaculation), for which
she charges extra! After the sex, he advises her that she shouldn't
be turning tricks and should concentrate on her studies. It's
only slowly that viewers realise that the two are father and daughter.
Have you ever done it with your dad?
Miike's Audition (1999) can easily be described as a harrowing
viewing experience, his 2001 movie, Visitor Q, is certainly more
palatable due to its bleak humour. A spoof on reality TV and a
commentary on the modern Japanese family, Miike takes a dysfunctional
family and sees if the parts can piece together.
Endo works on a reality TV show which had turned on him - instead
of interviewing some punks, he ends up having the microphone stuck
up his ass. When the segment was broadcast, Endo ends up being
ridiculed. Even now he's scouting for more ideas - he's resorted
to videotaping sex with his daughter.
Watanabe as the
son Jun Muto is humiliated and suffers under the hands of three
bullies, who not only take his money but shoot fireworks into
his bedroom at night. To vent his frustration, he beats his submissive
mother with a cane. Ever beat up your mom? Daughter Fujiko is
a runaway, selling sex for pocket money and looks bored even when
it's her father penetrating her.
Uchida is a class act all by herself. Dutifully carrying out her
wifely duties, she also painfully applies soothing balms and ointments
to the sores caused by her son's beatings. To help ease her pain
and whatever else, she shoots up. Like her daughter, Uchida too
sells her body, only that her takings are for her drug habit.
at a train station, Kenichi gets hit on the head by an unnamed
man (the visitor in the title, played by Kazushi Watanabe). That
night, Kenichi inexplicably invites the visitor to stay in his
house. In the morning, Kenichi spots his son being bullied and
decides to sell the story to his editor.
home from a sex session, Uchida finds the visitor alone. The visitor
offers to help soothe her aching back but ends up doing more than
that - he frees up her repression that is symbolically shown as
a showering of breast milk.
to convince his TV station about his son-being-bullied story,
he accidentally kills his editor and, in a fit of rage, he violates
her body and finds he is stuck inside her. With Uchida now liberated,
she gamely gets oil to help out her husband and is on hand to
help chop up the dead editor's body. Just then, the bullies return
to torment their son. With new fire in their loins, Kenichi slays
two of the boys while Uchida easily drills a hole through the
third. The enigmatic visitor later finds the son lying in a mixture
of his mother's milk and vaginal fluids in the house. Walking
along the street, the visitor is accosted by the daughter who
is then hit (and beaten up) probably by the visitor. She returns
home to find her father suckling at her mother's breast. She then
joins the two of them.
a movie convention that it is the visitor who disrupts a familial
setting with disastrous results, here Miike inverts the situation
and brings harmony and peace to what starts off as a dysfunctional
family. For that reason, some reviewers see Miike's Visitor Q
as a conservative family movie. But that's not really the point.
Kenichi is so out there trying to get his own reality TV show
that any semblance of harmony and peace in the family is really
illusory. It's like saying Terry Gilliam's Brazil has a happy
ending because the protagonist now finds himself in a blissful
would have it, reality TV is highly competitive with disastrous
results and even poses a danger to unsuspecting families but it
is never boring. Along the way, incest, prostitution, lactating
mammaries and classroom bullies get lampooned. This is one of
those movies where questions are still asked long after the curtains
come down. Films such as Audition, Ichi The Killer (2001) and
Visitor Q really push Takashi Miike to the forefront of Japanese
cinema. So what is he doing with a "childish" throwback such as
The Great Yokai War in 2005? Ever take the money and run?
The Visitor Q DVD is banned in $ingapore.