Seppuku is the secret narrative weapon of Japanese
storytelling. Unique to Japan and their culture of honor, seppuku (or hara-kiri
as it is also known) is the ritual self-disemboweling of a samurai with a sharp
knife. Sometimes it happened when a samurai was disgraced through his own
actions. Sometimes it was demanded by their lord for political reasons.
Sometimes it occurred to save the samurai’s family. But whatever the reason: it
is an evocative, excruciating, captivating dramatic experience that has
virtually no parallel in western cinema.
It was a little over fifty years ago that Dr. No launched James Bond into the collective
unconscious. Bond became a film icon that is today just as valid and valued as
it was when handsome, rugged Sean Connery first walked into the frame and shot
his unknown assailant.
What really happened in this luxurious maze of marble and mirrors?
It’s difficult to discuss the plot of L'année dernière à Marienbad, because so
much of it is shrouded in the unknown. There is a man in a hotel. He meets a
woman and informs her that they had a meeting here last year. The woman can’t
remember it, but the man insists and refuses to leave her alone. Is there truth
to his story, or are they the delusions of an obsessed stalker? Perhaps even a
rapist? As time goes by, memories get muddy on both sides, are forced onto the other,
become strained, contradictory, disappear altogether. The truth of Marienbad is
known only to its endless marble hallways, its trompe l’oeils.
Be a good boy and pay your loans, or the repo men will come (spoiler notice)
Remy and Jake are damaged goods. After the war, their
desensitization towards violence was so all-consuming they ended up with the
grisliest of jobs without batting an eye: they became repossession men.