It is Friday already and I have gotten very little done or read this week.
It was a week of chauffeuring Betty to follow-up medical appointments. If you are a new reader, I should explain that our personal situation is that my wife had surgery for ovarian cancer a year ago and then last month for an apparently unrelated kidney cancer. We caught both at relatively early stages and our prospects are good. Still, some weeks my blogging and the reading that it feeds on will suffer.
One thing I did do this week was spend about 3 hours one afternoon watching The Warriors of the Rainbow Bridge. This is a Japanese movie. It is long, even in its cut American version.
It is about a historical event in the early 20th century. Japan controlled Taiwan and there were tribes of aboriginal head-hunters in the island’s mountains. These natives rebelled against the Japanese, who had machine guns, mortars, a rudimentary air force, and some chemical weapons. The tribesmen had swords, bows, and a facility for adapting captured Japanese weapons. In addition, they were badly outnumbered.
This is a Japanese movie that shows the Japanese in a bad light without demonizing them as some American WWII movies do. It is a kind of samarai movie, only the fierce, skilled, suicidal warriors are the head-hunters, not the Japanese.
Some of the reviews call this an anti-war movie. But it is not like a Hollywood anti-war movie, which would aim at influencing American foreign policy. I don’t really see this movie as taking a stand in Japanese politics.
Besides being an action samarai movie, this movie is a lament. I have mentioned that lament is a category of literature in the Bible, for instance the Book of Lamentations and several of the Psalms. But American Christians have a hard time getting into lament mode. It was not really our response to the terror attacks or Katrina. We politicized those events rather than lamenting them.
I don’t endorse the fatalism of The Warriors of the Rainbow Bridge. But it is an interesting example of the artistry of lament in movie form. The music of lament in the background is a big part of this. You get a sense of this from the following two-minute trailer.