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MWFF: Day 6

Tout les garçons s’appellent Patrick, and all the girls Justine ?
Goddard’s short film Tous les garçons s’appellent Patrick related the twisted love life a male gigolo who has a rather busy dating schedule. In the film two meet the same man separately, who makes a date with each of them separately the next evening. When they both show up, he shows up too, with a third women. Yikes! Just as Goddard’s protégées were exploited by this unconcerned man, the main protagonist in Your Name is Justine gets trapped by a kidnapper and she’ll be forced to sell her body until she can earn a certain amount to buy her freedom back by money prostituting herself.

The story and the film as a whole is quite unsettling. First because the kidnapping arrives totally unexpectedly, but mainly because the story seems somewhat unreal and it seems to be come directly from an arty horror films à la Funny Games. However, two million people are “sold” around the world every year. We all knew this was happening in poorer countries, but the problem seemed to be rather absent from industrialized countries, apart from a few exception. Astonishingly, out of all the two million women, 200,000 are women sold into European prostitution. 15 000 of them are Polish! Knowing these stats, this situation and the film take a whole new dimension. Your name is Justine is the story of one of those women.

The film is truly remarkable in that you never know what to anticipate. Starting with the unexpected kidnapping and the shocking manner in which the film commences – the storyline has several major pivots points and every one of those could lead in a number of directions. Totally unpredictable, the film successfully puts the audience in the victim’s mind, as she too doesn’t know what to expect from her new life. Although she won’t have to prostitute herself for a while, she’ll have to live with her experience and the dark memories for the rest of her life. As the last shots of the film on a beach demonstrates, she’ll be forever changed! The film successfully forces reflection about this widespread situation and hopefully the world will become a better place to live, especially for women who have to go through this.

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The Kamataki Kid
Kamataki—a much lighter film—deals with a very dramatic subject too. The film relates the story of Ken Antoine, 23, who has lost his father and, as a consequence, his desire to live. One winter morning, he jumps off a bridge into the icy waters; miraculously, he survives. His mother feels that his uncle in Japan is the only person who can help him find what he has lost. Eccentric and unpredictable, his uncle lives by his own unconventional moral code and his shock treatment of sake, mystery, sexual tension and art succeeds in stirring his nephew’s curiosity.

Most of the symbolism in the film is conveyed through the Kamataki oven, which Ken has to operate for several days to cook his uncle’s pottery. Just as his own heart, the temperature in the oven will fluctuate. If it’s too hot or too cold, the pottery will break; the temperature has to be perfect. Just as Ken’s mind which was disturbed after his father’s death. As he’s working on maintaining the proper temperature in the oven by adding the proper amount of wood, his uncle will work on Ken’s inner balance by having go through several activities. The uncle says at one point “you just have to listen; the fire will talk to you” as he’s pointing to the flames coming out of the oven’s chimney. Our heart works the same way; it just needs to be listened to be understood as the film demonstrates. This symbolism is very present in the film and works very well. Unfortunately, not all the elements of the film do, but overall Kamataki is a very enjoyable film that’ll teach you some lessons about life, thanks to the very colorful uncle Takuma.

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