Wednesday, February 23, 2011

No Life King (No Raifu Kingu) (Dir. Jun Ichikawa)


Director: Jun Ichikawa
Writers: Seikô Itô (novel), Hiroaki Jinno
Stars: Ryo Takayama, Neko Saito and Nobuo Nakamura


"In this movie, several "urban legends" evolve before the viewer's eyes. As the film opens, a group of boys have waited in line for hours to acquire the latest version of a video game. When a rumor goes around school that the game, "The Legend of Life King IV," is cursed, and that those who fail to finish it will die, the boys take it seriously. When their school principal dies while delivering a diatribe against video games, this confirms the curse in their eyes. Meanwhile, one of the boys' mothers comes to believe that cakes purchased at a certain bakery are poisoned in some fashion because the site of the bakery was formerly a graveyard. ~ Clarke Fountain, All Movie Guide"

NY Times review is here.

Here is a VERY rare film from the late Jun Ichikawa (Tony Takitani etc.), a sort of Sci-Fi/ family drama hybrid based on Seikô Itô's novel of the same name. Since I can't speak Japanese, I found this one difficult to follow, honestly, but it definitely has the quiet intensity of an Kiyoshi Kurosawa film in places.

This is not my rip of the film, and the quality overall is VERY POOR. However, This is, as far as I know, the only way to see the film. If anybody has some English subs or can contribute some, please let me know. This film was likely never released in the US, but festival prints were clearly made if there is a New York Times review. I recommend reading the review, as it really sheds light on the story and ideas present therein. I don't think this film has ever been released on DVD in any country.

I originally came across this film while researching its composer, Saeko Suzuki. The computer game-inspired score is excellent and I managed to find a quality rip of the CD soundtrack which I will upload separately soon. I also have the majority of Suzuki's solo discography, so I'll slowly be uploading that as well.


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