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Meat, Matyuki, killings

First love (2019)
comedy, romance, thriller
Director: Takashi Miike
Cast: Becky, Sakurako Konishi, Masataka Kubota, Jun Murakami, Nao Omori
Premiere: November 28, 2019

Reo is a loser boxer, whom doctors have made a fatal diagnosis. Monica is a prostitute who has lost all connection with reality and who wants to use one venal cop and an apostate yakuza in her sophisticated scam (and for this they need to kill Monica). Due to an absurd accident – Monica, once again seeing the ghost of her father, escapes from the cop, and Reo, not understanding what’s what, knocks him down, “saving” the girl (from which he saves her, the guy, however, doesn’t guess), – together they launch a chain of ridiculous and cruel events, resulting in a full-scale mafia war.

Frame from the film “First Love”
Before the premiere of his new work at the Cannes Film Festival, Takashi Miike, a crazy Japanese director who makes about a million films every year (from bloody thrillers and serious dramas to the adaptation of JoJoe’s Incredible Adventures), went on stage to dispel all doubts about genre affiliation First love. ” I, says, understand perfectly well that you know me as the author of films that are unpleasant for the stomach, where people are tearing out guts, sticking sticks in the eyes under the ominous “Kiri-Kiri-Kiri” or cutting off their legs with a thin fishing line, but now everything will be to another. No murders, no blood and even more so no cut off heads – just a bright love story, without tricks.

Judging by the uncertain uncertainty from the audience, no one believed him.

Frame from the film “First Love”
And they did the right thing – the severed head in close-up rolled already a minute into the second. Then it’s worse (or better, depending on your aesthetic preferences): “First Love” turned out to be a fascinating guignole, a shameless blood-intestinal attraction, where visual plastic is much higher than any adequate content. It (the content, that is) is not strong here and claims to be – unlike its namesake Kitano, who rather mundane and not very moving away from the genre ridiculed the yakuza-films in the trilogy “Lawlessness”, Miike does not even try to stand with her feet in some kind of space or knowable reality.

Its plot is so overloaded with events and criminal cliches – harsh yakuza, the Chinese mafia, double agents, triple agents, traitors, traitors, traitors, katana, money, two trunks – which quickly loses all meaning, and even conditionally “calm” moments rhythmically alternating brisk kneading looks no less banter than, say, deadly knockouts to poor grannies. Moreover, Miike happily emphasizes the frozen-out absurdism of her world with bizarre angles, expressive heroes even by his standards, or a sudden transition to animation where he physically cannot take off the “live” trick.

Frame from the film “First Love”
This neglect of the plot and the translation of its intricate lines into one big joke, where complex multi-paths break off solely by stupidity or due to an impossible combination of circumstances, perfectly reflects the feelings of the local protagonists. A short-sighted fellow boxer, who obviously had missed a couple of accurate hooks on the head at one time, and a drug addict, between whom a ridiculous (and therefore, for Miike, definitely “clean”) feeling flashes.

For the whole film, they, it seems, will not understand what the hell they are trying to beat all around – in their world, undercover mafia intrigues are invaded only by a series of corpses and loonies who will soon also become corpses.

Previously, Takashi often shot a movie about chaotic evil (yes, even the same “Screen Tests”), now he goes over to the side of chaos – for which to observe, honestly, even funnier. In a sense, First Love forms an unexpected double feature with the Irish released yesterday: Scorsese shows that gangster values ​​ultimately leave people physically and mentally crippled. Miike’s message is simpler: in his opinion, mafia showdowns are just very funny nonsense.

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