Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Sono Sion, the lampoon

Suicide Club(2002)/ Sono Sion
IIt would not be unfair to call Sion Sono a distant cousin of Kubrick himself, who inherited the contempt for authoritative figures and a similar wit from the great American, but failed to inherit the tenets of his meticulous method. For while Kubrick realised the potential of a satire to quickly become a self-parody, slip off the thin line it walked and become a farce; Sion Sono does not. Therefore, even as Kubrick painstakingly constructed each of his films, so as to preserve the curious balance between a satire and a farce, Sono’s impulsive filmmaking makes him fail that test quite often. It is for the same reason that even as Kubrick made a light-hearted black comedy with Dr. Strangelove, the undercurrent of livid sarcasm and anger remained undeniable; but with Suicide Club, Sono suffers from a tendency to be so fickle-minded about his own film, that the anger is prone to being diluted, purely because it is spread over so variable a schema. Suicide Club’s opening scene is much similar to the engaging climax of Kubrick’s Dr Strangelove, with scenes of horrifying and endless destruction (54 school girls jump under an oncoming metro in the former, and the world goes up in nuclear flames in the latter), played to the tune of a comforting soundtrack – as if mocking our own inability to laugh at ourselves, while consistently challenging us to laugh at the grotesque splatter – seen through not the conventional prism of sympathy, grief or tragedy, but through ridicule, and even, derision. It would not be wrong to say that Suicide Club is a Tarantino spoof of the brain-splatter genre; the only difference being that the there is a greater point than the spoof itself.

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