Editor’s Note: The following reviews are part of our coverage of the 2015 Boston Underground Film Festival. For more information on the festival visit bostonunderground.org and follow BUFF on Twitter @.
The World of Kanako (2014)
Dir. Tetsuya Nakashima
The World of Kanako is a cinematic experience unlike any I’ve ever had before. For long periods I wanted to run out. Director Tetsuya Nakashima has committed to film a twisted, ugly, and mean-spirited world. It is populated by the worst people imaginable, yet shown in the most disarming light, leaving the audience at peak vulnerability for the assault. And it is an assault. From start to finish, The World of Kanako attacks any and every sense it can gain access to. Shots blast across the screen with barely enough time for your brain to process it. It frantically bounces across ideas, locations, characters, and timeframes, dragging you along, uncaring of your reluctance.
Buried in this capsule of mayhem and destruction is a story of monsters chasing monsters. Don’t be fooled, not a single character in this film is worth your redemption. They are terrible creatures that exist to ruin you and crush your soul. Nakashima is relentless in his aim to exhaust you to your core, visually, audibly, and emotionally. The combination of Nakashima’s presentation and a troubling performance by Nana Komatsu have delivered perhaps the most disturbing representation of evil in cinema with a realism that is all the more troubling. The World of Kanako will rip out your heart, shit in your insides, and laugh as you breathe your last labored rancid breath. It is terrifyingly brilliant and I never want to see it again.
I Am a Knife with Legs (2014)
Dir. Bennett Jones
I Am a Knife with Legs is many things, low budget, strange, frequently funny, and scattered, but it certainly is not a good film. Like the dim-witted bastard child of Flight of the Conchords and Tim & Eric, with Trailer Park Boys as its baby sitter, it has the potential to be great. However, it should be noted that the many comparisons it garners are to pieces of television and that is perhaps the root of the film’s problem. In short spurts it is actually quite humorous. The jokes often come out of nowhere and are smart to be delivered as plainly as Bennett Jones does. However, the film quickly overstays its welcome.
Writer-director-star Bennett Jones has certainly put a great deal of love and care into Bené and he aches to show just how much. Sacrificing any semblance of respectable plot or story, Jones would rather parade Bené around than produce a fully-developed film. He reveals all sorts of idiosyncrasies to the character that he is oh so confident the audience will love, and for bouts, he is right. Bené has enough charm and the jokes are witty enough to function in spurts, but certainly as no more than a half-hour television show. The film’s meandering nature and arrogant obsession with itself grows tiresome at feature length. That isn’t even considering the fact that the production value is nearly non-existent and the film is visually atrocious. I Am a Knife with Legs is a pale imitation of far better entertainment with grating unearned self-confidence. Go home Bené, we’re already tired of you.