Milocrorze: A Love Story, winner of Best Fantastic Feature at Fantastic Fest 2011, is a fever dream of colors, self help, violence, love, pain, destruction, and revenge. 27-year-old actor Takayuki Yamada has a great career up until this point, but then the we get introduced to the story of Ovreneli Vreneligare, a goofy 7-year-old who lives in a brightly coloured, but strange, world. The young boy meets a woman, Milocrorze, at the park, and falls in love, and for a while they have the perfect relationship, until she leaves him for a man. But love can be a painful thing and Ishibashi definitely aims to show the horror that comes from a male’s unrelenting desire to be with someone.
What follows is a lone ronin in search of his one and only and he becomes proficient with the sword. Finally the spotlight turns to Tamon, a businessman-turned-samurai on the search for the kidnapped love of his life. He finds her in the most insanely extravagant brothel imaginable. Imagine how you would feel if you stumbled upon tha scenario yourself? This is a very bizarre film, as the above synopsis suggests – it doesn’t make a whole lot of sense, but it is very very funny, especially when Kumagai starts dancing. That character, Tamon and the grown Ovreneli are all played by Takayuki Yamada, and he is just wonderful in each role. The film is a plethora of styles and genres, and shows why Fantastic Fest gets better and better each year. It also features one of the most astonishing action sequences in recent memory, which I won’t spoil in this review.
This eclectic film features psychedelic colors, wild dance sequences, video game references, and many other elements that made me enjoy the heck out of this film. Yamada is definitely someone to start paying attention to because I think he is going to have a rather successful career after performing well in the last two Miike films that he was featured in. All of the sets are sort of hyper-unreal, with vivid colours and very groomed landscapes, and the sense that you’re in an alternate reality is with you throughout the film. I felt the slow-motion fight scene in the gambling hall/bordello went on a bit too long – the director cuts fast-moving action with lots of very slow-motion fighting, and after the fourth or fifth room that our hero has fought in, it get a little old. But aside from that, you couldn’t ask for more from an absurdist, surreal Japanese movie.
Yamada and Yoshimasa Ishibashi have come into their own by working on this film. I overheard an audience member say that Milocrorze: A Love Story is like Amelie on acid, and I tend to agree. Unrequited love is the overarching theme at play here, and it all comes full circle in its epilogue, one that will leave its audience crushed. This was by far the most abstract and arty film at the festival – but you don’t just get a better rating for that. I actually thought it would be a tad boring. Far from it. Ishibashi Yoshimasa’s Milocrorze, A Love Story was a great unexpected film that I can’t help but to recommend.