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Visitor Q

Other // Unrated // February 11, 2002 // Region 2
List Price: $29.99 [Buy now and save at Pokerindustries]

Review by J. Doyle Wallis | posted March 29, 2002 | E-mail the Author

The Story A haggard father, who is a failed former television reporter, tries to mount a documentary about brutality, bullying, and sex among youths. He begins this documentary by interviewing his runaway prostitute daughter, but, in the process of his interview, ends up having sex with her. At home, his wife is regularly beaten by their son, so she turns to drugs to ease her pain. The son is bullied by kids at school, who shoot fireworks into is room at night and during the day beat him up every chance they get. Into their amazingly dysfunctional home comes the strange mysterious "Visitor Q". When the overwrought, delirious father inadvertently kills a young female tv executive he was trying to sell his idea, their lives spiral into even more bizarre territory... and somehow, the more depraved it gets, the more it unites them together.

The Film: VISITOR Q has to be seen to be believed. It is hard to convey its tone and intangible effects, much less some of the events that are onscreen. Its pretty safe to say, there aren't many art house, non-fetish films that prominently feature profusely lactating female breasts. Its also safe to say, that I've seen it twice, and I still don't completely have my head wrapped around it- not because I dont understand it, but because I just cant beleive I saw some of the stuff I did without running away from the film screaming.

Basically, it is a nice little satirical stab at family, and it goes to far more bizarre lengths than say, Married With Children, The Royal Tenenbuams, Jerry Springer or Sitcom. And, not only are these characters pretty sympathetic, but the film is also funny albeit in a go 'Ick' then chuckle kind of way. It is a mix of the absurd and the distasteful. The family is an absolute wreck, a dizzy, downtrodden father, battered mother, bullied son, all in one way or another avoiding their problems, stuck in a bourgeoisie mailase. Then one day, Q, the stranger, bonks the father on the head with a rock escorts him home and begins to live with them. Somehow, this stranger is a catalyst, and (I don't want to give anything away) their lives may get weirder even more debauched, but also it brings them together. So, somehow, although the finale involves multiple murders, and necrophelia, hacking up and disposing of bodies, and the already mentioned lactating breasts- its is, well, touching. Shocking and abnormal, but touching.

Takashki Miike, infamous director of Audition, Fudoh, Dead or Alive 1&2 and City of Lost Souls, presents this wonderfully bizarre, horrific black comedy. With visceral depictions of incest, necrophilia, abuse, humiliation, and rape, most people would assume that the film would be pure, tasteless exploitation trash. But, it is not... exactly... Instead the film is told in an exaggerated surrealist style- the combined sensibilities of John Waters, Luis Bunuel and Francios Ozon. Perversity is a factor in the film, but a factor that is not gleefully served up in an overly thoughtless way. Sure it can get juvenile (this is a comedy), but, overall it is just another means of storytelling. Granted its not the kind of storytelling that is always easy for most viewers to digest (of course something like Pasolini's Salo: 120 Days of Sodom or Solondz's Happiness comes to mind), but for those that can take it, it yields good results. I'm sure there are many people who would rather not see the acts in VISTOR Q and some people who would say the movie outright shouldnt have been filmed- thats fine. But, if you do think that way, I always think its beast to bear in mind, somehow an absurdist, abstract novel like Georges Batialle's The Story of the Eye with its many extreme acts or a Salvodr Dali or Goya painting is considered to be brilliant art, yet the same things on film are considered, by some, to be wrong, taboo, and abomidable... Oh, by every definition of the word it is sick, but art isnt all landscapes and Norman Rockwell paintings.

VISITOR Q is part of the Love Cinema Series of films produced by the CineRocket company. The Love Cinema Project was a series of films by young filmmakers, the Japanese equivalent of the Lars Von Trier & Co. Dogma films. Intended as straight-to-video releases, they were, sort of, academic exercises by some of Japans young filmmakers to test the Digital Video format and its possible low cost production/technical advantages. VISTOR Q was the sixth and final film in the series.

The DVD: Rapid Eye Movies, Germany, Region 2, PAL formatted DVD. It should be noted that although uncut this edition does have minor optical blurring of pubic hair, which is common in Japanese exports.

Picture- Fullscreen (although the DVD states "letterbox" on the back) as intended. Shot on Digital Video. Transfer captures the DV photography pretty well. As with a lot of DV film, the format has some drawbacks, but the transfer has good contrast and color with some slightly bothersome edge enhancement.

Sound- Dolby Digital Japanese with optional German or English subtitles. Sound is nice and clear overall and pretty good for such a low budget production; anyway it is a case where one doesn't expect DTS surround or anything like that.

Extras- 8 Chapters--- Trailer. A great trailer too, it basically uses one shot from the film, and the rest of it is a barrage of neat little animations.--- Rapid Eye Movies Contact Info--- Text Bios, Filmographies and a Takashi Miike Interview all in German only.
Conclusion- An offensively interesting film from one of the new wave of offbeat filmmakers. So far, Miike has made about 4-5 films a year since 1991, luckily many have trickled out and been made available in a home format, but his releases are still uneven in terms of censoring, definitive, therefore we see many bootlegs. There is also a uncut REG 1 release by Media Blasters... link.







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