I'M FLASH! (July 11, 8:30pm -- Sold Out)
While not as mesmerizing as his 2009 return to cinema The Blood Of Rebirth or 2011's Monsters Club Toyoda Toshiaki's latest should please fans for its slow burning philosophical nature and immeasurable amount of birth/death imagery.
When Master Rui, head of the Life Is Beautiful church is involved in a car accident which causes the death of a motorcyclist, and puts the young woman he was with into a coma, Rui's mother and sister (the real power players) hire three bodyguards to protect their kin, as they're now concerned that media exposure surrounding his true vapid playboy nature will bring out death threats for the nearly ineffectual if charismatic head of their operation.
The majority of the film plays out at the family's seaside estate, which resembles something between a Mormon cathedral and a Palm Springs resort -- or maybe those future domiciles from Woody Allen's Sleeper. Everything is immaculate and sterile, as if no one lives there at all. Lei resides in a room which main focal point is an altar of booze, bookended by two garish nightclub dart boards.
Lei is haunted by the night leading up to the accident; trapped by the intensity of the girl he was with -- the sister of a church member who committed suicide.
Any satisfaction the film grants comes in the luminous experiences of birth and death. For some these bring joy and a second chance, while for other it brings a fat paycheck, and for others yet: peace. -- Ben Umstead