Japan Japan

Japan Japan

2.5 out of 52.5 out of 52.5 out of 52.5 out of 5 2.5

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The restless, mini-DV-camera-shot visual style of Lior Shamriz’s semi-improvised fiction matches the wanderlust of its twentysomething gay hero, and its mood of displacement enhances the explicit thesis that escaping from your home (or culture) seldom means you can leave it behind. Imri (Imri Kahn), newly out of the army and arriving in Tel Aviv with a vague plan to save up for a sojourn in Japan, counters the boredom of his party-supply shop employment and mild lectures from his suburban mother with cruising, web-surfing, and clubbing; Shamriz fends off any overfamiliarity in the scenario with a riot of split-screens, still photos (detailing a cinema pickup), recurring credit sequences, bukkake videos, Google Earth scrolling, manga art, and an impromptu arm-waving dance to ABBA’s “SOS.” Japan Japan doesn’t flatter Imri by casting his innocent curiosity as wisdom or sensitivity. When he ridicules a middle-aged pickup, a collector of Arabic bric-a-brac and folk music, for his ostentatiously cultivated obsessions, the cosmopolitan daddy robustly answers, “At least I’m a special kind of pathetic; like you there are millions.” In his hour-long sampling of Imri’s ramblings, friendships, and nascent philosophy, Shamriz links the audience to this purposeful slacker through the experimentations of late youth, not crucially through the identities of being queer or Israeli; the Middle East news is just one more set of sounds and images competing for attention. Defaulting a couple times too often to a goofy, showtune-singing friend’s video diary sent from New York, the film builds Imri’s imaginative bridges to everywhere he’s not by the accumulation of collage through the gamut of popular technology. If the young man’s construction of a 21st-century identity is a fragmented, multimedia process, its core is a recognizable attempt to sort priorities while being guided by passions.

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DVD
Runtime
65 min
Rating
NR
Year
2007
Director
Lior Shamriz
Screenwriter
Lior Shamriz
Cast
Imri Kahn, Tal Meiri, Naama Yuria, Irit Gidron, Amnon Friedman, Benny Ziffer