Film Festival: Sukiyaki Western Django

I was supposed to see Dr Plonk with Tuesday night, but traffic was stupid and the two hours I gave myself to get downtown weren’t nearly enough. So instead, I wandered around Yonge St, got a chicken shawerma at one of the kebab places (pretty good… they put some weird sauerkraut-like stuff in it, which actually gave it a nice flavour. A little skimpy, though), bought an umbrella and sat out the ensuing thunderstorm in a McDonalds.

Sukiyaki Western Django trailer: You know spaghetti westerns? Well, this is a Sukiyaki Western. All (except one) Japanese actors, with dialog in English (with English subtitles). Throw together A Fistful of Dollars (which includes Akira Kurosawa’s Yojimbo, which was its basis), the Tale of the Heike, Henry VI (I couldn’t tell you which part), and Quentin Tarantino, and you get Sukiyaki Western Django.

Yes, it’s that awesome. It’s not some crazy-ass farce, either. There are some comic relief characters, but it’s mostly played pretty straight (as much as a Takashi Miike movie can be played straight). This is a concept that doesn’t need hamming up. It comes off brilliantly.

When I say “throw in Quentin Tarantino”, I mean that literally. Quentin has a cameo in the movie. He talks very slowly, even matching the speech patterns of the Japanese actors. He loves his sukiyaki. And it his being there makes total sense, in a weird sort of way.

Takashi Miike (the director) is a bit of a fixture at the film festival. It doesn’t hurt that he churns out an incredible number of movies. Every year I’ve been to the festival, I’ve watched whatever movie he had to show. They’re all a bit weird, and they cover an incredible range–from kids movies to incomprehensibly weird homosexual thrillers. I think Sukiyaki Western Django was my favourite Miike movie yet.

I’d keep gushing about it, but I think it’s probably better if I just manage to procure a copy sometime in the future and make people watch it.