26 November 2013

Movie Review: Fujimi Orchestra (富士見二丁目交響楽団 Fujimi Nichōme Kōkyō Gakudan)

This is a psychologically complex movie. We have Tonoin (left) and Morimura (right). Morimura is the head musician in a neighborhood volunteer orchestra. Tonoin appears one day to be the conductor of the group. He has a great resume and his decision to conduct this neighborhood orchestra is considered a tremendous boon to the group. Morimura however can't stand Tonoin. Tonoin takes Morimura violin back to his flat to further discuss their disagreement where Tonoin then rapes Morimura (with Wagner's Tannhauser blasting in the background). Tonoin is supposedly madly in love with Morimura who is self-identified as straight and is majorly introverted (and emo). For reasons that are somewhat opaque to me, Morimura and Tonoin come to some kind of compromise regarding both of them continuing with the neighborhood orchestra although Tonoin continues to try to flirt with Morimura.

The Rapist Embraces His Victim 
In the Victim's Own Dream

I'm somewhat shy to discuss my problems with the rape scene. You see. It wasn't like Uncle Jonbert and Tong in Lihim ni Antonio where Uncle Jonbert has Tong pinned to the table with his strong muscular body while reaching over with his free hand to the butter plate to lube up. Here, the two seem to be of equal strength and a number of shots show positions that are inconsistent with rape - like Morimura being on all fours receiving Tonoin "doggy style." So, the direction and cinematography made the rape scene more of in the style of Japanese porn that selectively uses elements of coercion to titillate. I will never listen to Wagner's Tannhäuser ever again the same way.

Tonoin definitely plays the rapist character well throughout the movie. He lacks boundaries. What he wants he impulsively gets, et.c,. But the Morimura character is someone conflicting. You almost get the sense that what he is rejecting is not the idea of being with Tonoin but his personality. The problem is that the rape, his boyish crush on the female lead flautist, etc., make it all so confusing. I can only guess the director and/or writer were confused and just jumbled together two different characters into one. Morimura even has a long wet dream sequence of kissing and cuddling with Tonoin only to "wake up" in the dream and the tone turns suddenly to nightmare. Everything except the words Morimura speak seem to point to Morimura being gay, but then it just tiptoes at the threshold of consciousness -- even after he's been raped.

That all being said. I think the production was excellent. The soundtrack is great. And overall, I think its worth watching. Just keep in mind the rape issues.

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