WHFS: Crossroad o’ Django Part 1

One of my “fav” horror film directors happens to have made one of my fav westerns: Sukiyaki Western Django.
Short review-
It has everything a western should + Django is a historic name in storytelling.
It has a Robert Rodriguez-Q. Tarantino-slapstick-but-legit-cool-splatter vibe.
It blends east and west with grace

This review of Sukiyaki Western Django needs to be quartered because it’s too important of a film to be reduced to a few paragraphs —
part 1: Intro & about the director
part 2: What’s w/ the name Django?
Part 3: Sukiyaki Western Django & summer whiskey Pick
Part 4: Westerns Genre

This intro is getting longer than the credits in an Italian western so let’s dig in.
Please choose not to drink alcohol in America until you’re 21 (your brain and your older self will thank your young wise choice to imbibe in a non-alcoholic drink!)
Those of us over 21 might try our Django Draft of Choice

[announccer voice] Try Toppling Goliath’s Pseudo Sue– if
the charm of Decorah hasn’t bitten ya yet let
the sharpe hoppy fate of pseudo sue get ya smitten
enough to visit. if you can find it…
i recommend checking out Decorah’s co-op and farmers market.

The WHFS pick for April-November is Sukiyaki Western Django.
In researching it, I realized I needed to give it time to breathe before I could do it justice.
I’m thrilled I waited cause this year at Denver Pop Culture Con there were lots of panels on the romance genre. Though I didn’t have space in my schedule to attend those panels their presence got me thinking about romance in the Western genre.
What is more romantic than the western genre, really? It’s one of the few genre’s that can glorify and romanticize love, loyalty, violence, domination, sovereignty, etc. Westerns are the quintessential ‘merican horror story that is both gory and romantic.

Sukiyaki Western Django is so romantically tragic it’s downright Shakespearean. It’s also one of my dessert island pics (along w. Jur Park and Arrival). This film is nostalgic for me because In 2009 I’d written about it for a course at Mahidol University in Thailand. It was an awesome course and a bold film choice for a novice. I can’t imagine I did it justice. Yet, bc of that first review I’ve been looking into various histories so that I can understand why the film makes so much sense as a Western. For me, this film is up on the shelf with Unforgiven (1992), True Grit (2010), High Noon (1952), Bone Tomahawk (2015), El Mariachi (1992), Machete (2010), Tiempo de Muerte (1994)…

A decade of film watching has taught me : . To understand a director’s work I gotta watch the film a few times and watch several of their films. For the last few months, I accepted the joy & horror of watching many films by Takashi Miike, the infamous. I can’t recommend the experience
enough

Tonight I’m watching:
Bone Tomahawk
In this one the supernatural natives use a gun against anglo americans who can’t seem to give up the ghost. 
&
Dead or Alive (1999) 

What happens in this film that it requires this warning–
WARNING: This motion picture contains explicit portrayals of violence; sex; violent sex; sexual violence; clowns and violent scenes of violent excess, which are definitely not suitable for all audiences.
This film also has one of my film pet peeves –throwing a lit cigarette. About an hour into Dead or Alive one of the characters says (English from subtitles) “I can’t stand those who sacrifice others.” This being one of Miike’s earlier films it’s interesting that we can see that theme running through many of his films. He tends to tell stories about self sacrifice and how sacrificing self or others leads to social chaos. Moral of the story: don’t make sacrifices. Seriously tho, beware. This film, and his films generally, are not for the faint of heart. Due to the brutalization of women and animals, among other indecencies, I don’t recommend his films to anyone under 25 years old.

If you know your bird calls or botany then you can probably tell me what time it is in a Miike film. That’s not to say all his films embody a natural calm. Some of his films are for the adrenaline junkies of the world. The lighting / filming choices are often florid, the costuming -breathtaking, and language use -stunning. 

I’m reluctant to compare Takashi Miike to any other director. Most known for his horror he actually bends several genres into the grotesque by bringing out the horror of the everyday. Similarly to Hitchcock, Miike not only displays his cinematic prowess through his script and mise-en-scene but through his comprehension of the psychology of fear. Each scene, whether serene or chaotic, is live with the historical/cultural tensions that logically connects the persons to the place and the characters’ compassion with their violence. Even the most audacious moments seem logical which
when you step back to consider what you’re seeing
is absurd and violent. 

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