Two staticly shot and overrated early Hashiguchi Ryosuke films

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“Hatachi no binetsu” (A Touch of Fever/ Slight Fever of a 20-Year-Old, 1993, directed by Hashiguchi Ryosuke, 2.3/5 stars) is a visually static portrait of two young Japanese hustlers, the gal pals of each, and the infatuation of one (Endô Masashi as Shin, the more feminine, less successful prostitute) for the other (the affectless Hakamada Yoshihiko as Tatsuro, the more successful prostitute). It is filmed in long static shots (nearly as long and static as in Hou Hsiao-Hsien and Tsai Ming-Liang movies). Hashiguchi’s (2001) “Hush!” is a much, much better film of somewhat similar materials involving anomic young Japanese gay males and their female admirers. (I don’t remember it being as visually static, and “Hush” has characters I remember better after more than a year than I did “Fever’s a day after watching it.)

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“Nagisa no Shindobaddo” (Like Grains of Sand, 1995, directed by Hashiguchi Ryosuke, 3.2 /5 stars) is a far-too-long (129 minutes) melodrama about Japanese high school students falling painfully in unrequited love. Like Hashiguchi’s (1993) “Touch of Fever” the movie, the scenes, and the shots are overly long with lots of pointless “dialogue” (if one can use that for talking past auditors) and attractive semi-clad adolescent Japanese males on languid display. (In “Fever” the youths simulated sex. In “Grains” there is a kiss, but mostly medium shots of looks of longing.)

©2006, Stephen O. Murray

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