Dir: Kiyoshi Kurosawa
After years of having to pay top $$ to get Kiyoshi Kurosawa films on DVD, suddenly they’re all coming out, including Seance, which I have yet to see, and this one, Bright Future, his follow up to Pulse, and his first break from the horror genre.
Parts of the film are of a piece with “Cure,” as Mamoru, the enigmatic co-lead, is a blank hole into which all morality is sucked, yet he’s not evil either. (Kurosawa’s favorite method of killing is a metal pipe over the skull–check out “Cure” and “Doppelganger” for some more blunt trauma fun). Mamoru and the lost-looking Nimura (Jo Odagiri) are co-conspirators in a murder that occurs earlier on in the film. It seems like Nimura was about to go and accomplish the deed, but Mamoru gets there in his place and commits the deed. After being sent to death row, Mamoru asks Nimura to look after his red jellyfish, which he’s been slowly adapting to live in fresh water. The halfway point of the film (always a point of interest to me) features Mamoru committing suicide and Nimura (intentionally?) toppling over the jellyfish tank and losing the creature between the floorboards. As with Doppelganger, the film then begins to make even less sense. Mamoru has an estranged father, who has only recently come back into his son’s life to find it too late to enjoy anything except sad prison visits. He has another son, who we only see in one scene because only one is needed, who is freeloading twit. We have a standard relationship at the core of the film–directionless man needing father figure (Nimura goes to work for him after meeting at the funeral) and father seeking a son substitute to make up for past mistakes. Only Kurosawa tweaks with it and suggests that need is the co-dependent flipside of being existentially lost. Either way, you haven’t found your own identity.
The escaped jellyfish begins to multiply (how, it’s not said) and begin to invade Tokyo like some mysterious floating lantern festival. Kurosawa’s resolution of the story is subtle and not totally satisfying, but it is interesting that stripped of any horror trappings, his films still hold a hypnotic pull.
Dir: Kiyoshi Kurosawa