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The Cinematic Katzenjammer: May 16: Enter the Void


May 16: Enter the Void

"A drug dealer becomes interested in death and re-incarnation after reading "The Tibetan Book of the Dead". Suddenly dead, his soul floats though Tokyo observing the dramas of his friends and foes. An oath determines his next step 'as a soul'."

Enter the Void is an experience. It's nothing like I have ever seen before and completely breaks any limits I thought a movie had. The entire thing is filmed in first person and the audience becomes Oscar, the main character. An important part of the film discusses drug use and out of body experiences, and Enter the Void is exactly that. After Oscar dies, we float through the city of Tokyo as his soul, seeing the aftermath of his death and how his friends and family cope. We witness his life before his death, starting from his birth up until the moment he dies. We see Oscar's relationship with his sister and how their bond strengthens after their parents die in a car crash (that's very graphic). And, we see his descent into drug addiction and how he becomes a dealer in order to earn enough money to bring his sister to Tokyo. A large part of the movie focuses on the Tibetan book of the dead, the afterlife, and reincarnation. This ties into Oscar's afterlife odyssey, and while the beginning of the film focuses on death, the end finishes with new life. While the entire film is clearly symbolic of something, it's completely up to your own interpretations and dissections. 

It's a lot like 2001: A Space Odyssey, but less Hal, and more sex. A LOT of sex. 

Enter the Void is remarkable in its execution. I have never seen an entire film shot from the first person point of view and it only heightens the experience, never distracting from the full picture. It's a new kind of storytelling that's incredibly unique, disturbing, mesmerizing, and beautiful. This is certainly one of the most colorful films I have ever seen. Tokyo comes to life at night, and Enter the Void captures it beautifully. Contrasting the colors with the dark, drug-ridden, and corrupt streets creates a blend of familiarity and the strange, and in its own way, an afterlife here on earth. While my explanations of the film may be descriptive, Enter the Void is so much more than a bunch of pictures strung together to make a film. There's so much going on, so much to absorb, and so much to interpret that it's harder to describe than if you just watch it on your own. 

It's like if you take the grim reaper's kaleidoscope and look through it with a porn filter, while tripping on acid, and seeking a meaning in life and death. In Japan. 

I would recommend Enter the Void, but with the warning that it is most certainly not for everyone. It's a unique experience that shows you how outside the box a movie can be, and how something can be so beautiful, yet so disturbing at the same time. With no rating, it's insanely graphic, and it clocks in at almost three hours long. It's nothing you can watch, piece by piece, and it certainly tests your patience, your intellect, and your understanding of, well, everything. 

The Good:
incredible special effects and camerawork that leaves you mesmerized, wondering how it was even made
The Better:
a very unique experience that is like nothing you have seen before
The Best:
a clear example that a movie can be much more than a series of pictures tied together with a soundtrack and can be it's own, psychedelic experience

Overall: 9.1/10

Note: While the film is set mostly in Tokyo, it is indeed an English language film. 

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