Monday, October 10, 2011

Horrorthon 3: Day Eleven: Love - Zero = Infinity (Hisayasu Sato, 1994) -- C+

Sharing many similar themes (and quite a comparable scenario) to Abel Ferrara’s The Addiction, Hisayasu Sato’s Love – Zero = Infinity (great snarky art-house title) appropriates a real-world setting for a vampire-cum-AIDS allegory (or, not so allegorical, since these terms are explicitly used in the film) concerned with isolation, sickness, sexuality, and consumerism – all of which is shrouded under the pretense of tragedy. So, a disillusioned twenty's-something wanders the streets of Tokyo, seeking strangers to latch onto, and follow for a glimpse inside their lives. He soon finds a young woman who, he comes to suspect, may be a vampire. Less visionary than forced provocation, Sato lingers over shots of his lead characters standing, walking, staring, and talking, with lines as straight-faced as “I wonder if I wander around the city…or if it wanders around me?” Not exactly daunting stuff (neophyte existentialism), especially since Sato’s two-dimensional scope (fucking, extended ennui) never cohere with the sillier strands involving a corporation who sells HIV-infected blood, or the rather trite approach to its vampirism (“In a way, she’s a modern vampire.”). Nevertheless, Sato's dealing with AIDS is rare for Japanese cinema at the time (I'm struggling to think of any films that explicitly dealt with the matter, but my knowledge is by no means comprehensive on this topic), and there are several visually compelling moments dispersed throughout. Sato’s tendency towards heavy-handedness remains mostly in-check – the real problem is he has an idea, an eye for composition, but not much else to work with or expand upon. But at 64 minutes, maybe that’s all he felt to be necessary.

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