To wrap up another wonderful semester and to celebrate April Fool’s Day, TFS would like to invite everyone to our screening of Why Don’t You Play In Hell? on Wednesday, April 1 at Market Hall. We promise you an exhilarating night that will relieve your stress with laughter.
Combining the unique “yakuza” genre film with Tarantino-style comical violence, director Sion Sono creates a surreal scenario where two rivaling yakuza clans find themselves being choreographed and cinematographed by “The Fuck Bombers” on a film set.
The term “yakuza” refers to organized crime groups, the Japanese equivalent of mafia. “The Fuck Bombers”, on the other hand, is a team of wretched aspiring filmmakers who have been waiting for the chance to produce a real film with a 35mm film camera since their teenage years.
A series of coincidences, or in the words of Hirata, the leader of The Fuck Bombers, “the guidance of the god of cinema,” brings about the unfathomable cooperation between the zealous cinephiles and tough yakuza members.
The film is hilarious to watch as the yakuza members grow extremely devoted to their role in the film production process, during which their heads and limbs are cut off. While messy bloody scenes are common in Sono’s work, the lightheartedness and the comical romance in Why Don’t You Play In Hell? are certainly unseen in his previous films.
The film is often compared to Tarantino for its homage to Kill Bill and a similar aesthetic style. While Tarantino masters in the cross-genre Spaghetti Western, Sono demonstrates his creativity in this film by transforming the established yakuza genre in Japanese cinema with his signature nightmare-like violence.
Yakuza film has been established as a popular genre in Japan since the 1950’s. It centers on the life and struggle of yakuza members. One of the most prominent and prolific filmmakers of yakuza film is Takeshi Kitano, who appears in Merry Christmas, Mr. Lawrence, which TFS screened last semester.
Sono successfully rejuvenates the conventional yakuza film style and uses it as his tool to express his love and devotion for film and filmmaking. In the film, Hirata, the optimistic director and Muto, the yakuza leader, share a profound faith and passion for filmmaking, though they are from distinctly different backgrounds, implying that film is something that can bring meaning to life for everyone no matter who you are.
Sono and Tarantino have more in common than their interests in playing with genre and transcending boundary. Sono wrote the script for this film fifteen years ago, and fifteen years later the 35 mm film camera used by Hirata in the film now carries the nostalgic sentiment Sono feels toward the obsolete film stock as it gets replaced by digital video, echoing Tarantino’s public claim that “digital projection is the death of cinema.”
Whether you are a regular at TFS screening, or you are looking for something ridiculous and fun to watch on April Fool’s Day, please join us for a FREE public screening of Sion Sono’s Why Don’t You Play In Hell? on Wednesday, April 1 at Market Hall (140 Charlotte Street). The show begins at 8pm.