Mole’s Festival & Muddy Planet

June 16, 2011

Eiga Ikki Presents: Kishû Izuchi Special:
Mogura no matsuri (Japan, 2009)
Doro no wakusei (Japan, 2010)

Kishû Izuchi is a 40-some filmmaker with directorial experience since the 1990’s. He better known as a screenwriter, though, for having scripted films for directors such as Takahisa Zeze (Kokkuri, 1997, Hysteric, 2002). In the recent years Izuchi has been frequently collaborating with film school student. His self founded indie movie movement Eiga Ikki is an organization created to distribute and promote the works of Izuchi and his collaborators.

Mole’s Festival is a 50 minute movie written and produced by Izuchi in collaboration with the students of Film School of Tokyo. The mystery style storyline follows three young women working as personal assistants and care takes for an elderly man. The old man’s only spark in life is the hope of finding his granddaughter, gone missing two years ago, alive. A hired private detective hands in his monthly report until one day it turns out no detective ever existed! The female trio takes as it their responsibility to discover the truth and what happend to all the payments.

Izuchi is well experienced in filmmaking, but not much of it is visible in Mole’s Festival. It’s technically competent enough, yes, and nothing is outright wrong about it, but it feels lifeless – like a student film without enthusiasm. With relatively predictable storyline and one-dimensional characters there doesn’t seem to be much reward for watching the film. The only true point of interest would it being based on true story – partly. That’s not much to build on, to be honest.

Next Year’s Muddy Planet is thankfully a notable improvement. This time characters are played by the students of Japan Academy of Moving Images. The high school set 53 minute drama film centers around ordinary students in their everyday activities – one spends her nights looking at the sky, the other is practicing trumpet, and a whole bunch is scrabbling in mud as a part of their agriculture studies. Any drama bigger than a random crush on opposite sex is not to be found, which is only welcome.

Muddy Planet is a nice little movie slightly reminiscent of Shunji Iwai’s more easy going efforts (as both director and screenwriter). Screenwriter Daisuke Tengan (of the semi-mainstream The Most Beautiful Night in the World (2007) fame) provides good platform for the film, and there isn’t anything bad to say about Izuchi’s directing, either. Were he a debut director he’d be a name to write down after this movie. By no means an exceptional film, Muddy Planet is nevertheless a nice showcase for its young actors, all giving pleasing performances in a storyline that doesn’t attempt to be anything bigger than life. Tech credits are sufficient, making room for the players rather than stealing attention. For its actors the film should make a very decent business card, and a nice little viewing for everyone else.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: