Vintage Japanese Body Horror In Ohata Hajime's HENGE

Founder and Editor; Toronto, Canada (@AnarchistTodd)
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Vintage Japanese Body Horror In Ohata Hajime's HENGE
Though it failed to pick up any awards when it premiered at the Yubari International Fantastic Film Festival Ohata Hajime's Henge came out of the festival as one of the most buzzed about pictures. Having had a chance to see the film since it's not hard to see why. Though rough around the edges Henge is one of the more striking debuts to come out of Japan in recent years and promises great things to come from its director.

The slender 54 minute run time begins as though Kiyoshi Kurosawa were directing an adaptation of Kafka's The Metamorphosis before morphing and shifting until it becomes something that could fit easily in Shinya Tsukamoto's early filmography. Though not a perfect film any director that earns comparisons to both Kurosawa and Tsukamoto - and deserves both - is clearly doing something right.

The trailer below gives a good taste of what lies within Ohata's debut, a dark love story about a married couple weathering the bizarre transformation of the husband.
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More about Henge

marcwalkowApril 11, 2012 7:07 PM

Love HENGE, and really happy about the response it's getting overseas. Watch for it at some notable Asian and genre film fests this summer.

King Records has taken distribution and sales rights for the film, and is offering director Ohata's earlier 30-minute short THE BIG GUN to play alongside it, making a feature-length 90 minute program for festivals. If HENGE is Tsukamoto-meets-monster-movies, then BIG GUN is Tsukamoto-meets-yakuza-movies. King screened both in conjunction for HENGE's Tokyo opening in March, and will recommend that overseas festivals do the same, I think.

Oh - and it didn't pick up any awards at Yubari because it wasn't part of the competition! It was a special screening of the "complete" version. The film was initially screened in unfinished form at the 2011 Yubari Film Festival, as part of an anthology program. Sadly, this commenter neglected to see it then and only discovered it after a screener was passed his way last November....