We may have made some mention of trying to match our New York Film Festival reviews to the day they play at the festival. This is a dirty lie. We’re just going to toss them up as we finish them. Also, our review of opening night film "Good Night and Good Luck" is going to have to wait until next week, when we actually, you know, see it, as we couldn’t make the film festival screening. Also, our reviews will be accumulating here, if you need them all in one place. Okay. "Haze":
Shinya Tsukamoto knows his industrial chic â€” from
his seminal "Tetsuo" to the recent "Vital," he’s managed to
create a world in which metal and concrete meet flesh in unimaginable ways.
"Haze" is a concentrated dose of Tsukamoto’s obsessions, falling
somewhere between a metaphor for urban isolation and a Nine Inch Nails video.
The film spends most of its 50-minute run-time with the camera (digital â€” Tsukamoto has said "Haze" is in part an exercise in the
freedom of movement shooting on video allows) distressingly close to panicked
face of the main character, an unnamed man played by the director who wakes
up to find himself badly wounded and trapped in a cramped space that stretches on but
never seems to get more than one and a half feet high.
As you’d guess, this alone would send anyone with a touch of
claustrophobia into cold sweats, but there’s plenty of unpleasantness for
everyone. As he drags himself around, looking for a way out, the man encounters
spikes, traps in the wall, a pipe he wakes up chained open-mouthed to and must
scrape along for a while, and eventually, a room filled with dismembered body
parts and a woman who’s alive, though, like him, severely injured. We hear the
man’s thoughts in occasional voiceover, but he doesn’t remember anything that
came before, and can only come up with wild theories as to why he’s ended up where
he is. The woman he’s found knows nothing more, though we glimpse flashbacks
that imply that the two knew each other, that they were living quietly lonely
and unhappy lives, and that, perhaps, they were hoping to run off together. But
the narrative frustratingly dissolves before any of this can come more into focus, leaving
the question of whether that concrete hell was ever
real up in the air.
"Haze" currently has no US distributor, but will likely surface on multi-region DVD on eBay someday.