The Sky Crawlers screening

Just got back from nyc Sky Crawler’s screening. I’m a little burned out, so let me just jot down a couple of points for further recollection tomorrow.

1)The screening opened with a recorded message from the venerable Mamoru Oshii himself. He said that the movie was about people who stopped/refused to grow up, and drew a parallel between the immortal pilots and the mindset of the current generation. Despite being spoken in Japanese, his words felt well thought out and serene. He obviously gave a lot of thought into this.

2)The basset hound, the major Kusanagi look-alike, gothic architecture in part of the film, strange machinery possibly playing music, lot of thoughtful dialog, and reference to the Albert Camu’s the stranger. This film has Mamoru Oshii written all over it, and that’s a good thing.

3)Everybody smokes a cigarette. Seriously, I think I saw someone lighting up practically every five minutes (the film was two hours long). It’s definitely intentional, but to what end? I think I know what Mamoru Oshii wanted to say, but won’t write it here since there’s a spoiler.

4)Lot of daring here folks. Remember that the main characters are immortal teenagers that must be killed through violence. These teenagers don’t shy away from adult situations, and Mamoru Oshii might have done some intentional dare to the censorship system. I like the realism, but some people might have issues with it. Of course, nothing perverted here. Nothing we wouldn’t expect teens in kill-or-be-killed situations to do.

5)The movie was two hours long, and in typical Mamoru Oshii style there’s a lot of philosophizing dialog, blank stares, and silent scenes. Amazingly though, I couldn’t take my eyes off the screen. And the characters, despite not saying very much, felt very alive and understandable through their facial expressions and motion. This movie isn’t boring. If someone does find this boring, they will probably find anything that has thoughtful dialog to be boring.

6)This is a movie adaptation of a novel and it shows. Time to time I needed to glean a lot of information from a simple scene or two, the kind of things the novel might have spent a chapter describing. I think the overall transitions were done masterfully, but it is noticeable.

7)The musical score is done by Kenji Kawai (who also did the Ghost in the Shell soundtrack), and it’s beautiful. I know I’m hunting down an ost for this one.

Will I get a DVD once this comes out? Yes. Definitely. Do I expect this movie to make full theater circuit in America? Unfortunately, that’s very unlikely considering the subject matter. As stupid as the censorship is, it’s not going away anytime soon, and this film has a few things that might make your normal High School Musical lovers feel uneasy (not that there’s anything wrong with liking High School Musical).

I think I had a couple of other points I wanted to make, but my brain is all mushy right now. Gotta go to sleep for tomorrow’s lab session.

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