Friday, August 19, 2005

Ecstasy of the Angels (Wakamatsu, 1972)

For a brief moment, it looks like Ecstasy of the Angels is going to find its footing and actually have something tangible to say about the world outside of the film -- one character bemoans the fact that the revolution is doomed to fail because all of the members are getting bogged down in self-indulgence (particularly kinky and spontaneous sexual encounters). However, too much of the film is spent telling us whose code name is what (agents are named after months) and which of the revolutionary factions they belong to (each is named after one of the four seasons). Even with all this explaination, we still don't have a specific idea of what the revolutionaries' goals are beyond planting some bombs and making love whenever the mood strikes them. The film is stylistically pleasing and makes me want to see more of the director's work; however, the switches between black-and-white and color contribute little to the film thematically and only make us wish that the director had spent more time filming in the latter since he seems to use it particularly well. So, in summary: stylistically of interest, but narratively and thematically innocuous due to a lack of focus and specificity. Such a shame considering the fact that the director is clearly willing to take risks with provocative content.



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