WHFS: Crossroad o’ Django Part 1

This article is in progress as a draft. If you want to see it evolve into it’s ‘final’ form feel free to visit anytime.

I decided the review of Sukiyaki Western Django needs to be quartered.
part 1: Intro & about the director
part 2: What’s w/ the name Django?
Part 3: Sukiyaki Western Django & summer whiskey Pick (password protected)
Part 4: Westerns Genre (if my conference abstract gets accepted I’ll share with you what I’ll share with Atlanta.)

Django Draft of Choice
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 their co-op and farmers market.
[from a Fem. AdVoice: pseudo sue: not sold in a store near you. Drink responsibly]
{in reality I’m enjoying a light n frothy Spotted Cow from our neighbors in Wisconsin at New Glarus Brewing Co. another place worth a visit this summer–Bring yer bikes or hiking shoes to check out the flat, gravel, off-roading wheel chair (& ATV?) accessible Cheese Trail]

The WHFS pick for April-August is Sukiyaki Western Django.
In researching it, I realized I needed to give it time to breath before I could do it justice (homework for grad school had priority).
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, ad nauseous. Westerns are the perfect ‘merican genre: gory and romantic.

Sukiyaki Western Django is so romantically tragic it’s downright shakespearian. 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, because 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 classic 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), The VVitch (2015), again ad nauseum.

What I learned from watching S.W.D. in my early 20s that I’ve now applied to this review a decade later is :.To understand a directors work I gotta watch several of their films. For the last few months, I accepted the joy & horror of watching many films by one of my favorite directors, Takashi Miike, the infamous.

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 has one of my film pet peeves –throwing a cigarette.
About an hour into the film, one of the characters says (whats translated into   english) “I can’t stand those who sacrifice others.” This being one of Miike’s earlier films it’s interesting that can see that theme running through many of this films. He tends to tell stories about self sacrifice and sacrificing 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.

On The Director:
If you can your bird calls or botany then you can probably tell me what time it is in Miike films. That’s not to say all his films embody the 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. Like 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 place to person and the characters’ compassion with their violence. Even the most audacious moments seem logical. 

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