Have you ever seen a movie that you think has some deeper meaning but you just don’t get it? And then after some consideration you wonder if you did infact miss something or whether the movie was just fucking with your head the entire time — trying to be all pretentious and meaningful but really just trying to be self-consciously showy?
I’m still not sure what Izo is. But I liked it, nonetheless.
I’m not sure how I can summarize it. Izo is some sort of guy who kills a lot of people. Toward the end of the movie he begins to turn into a demon. After the movie I heard a lot of people complaining that the movie didn’t have a plot. They were probably right. Mostly Izo kills people. At first, the people he kills are ghosts/reincarnations of people he killed in the past. Then he just starts killing everyone.
The movie is, for lack of a better term, very postmodern. Movie is very aware that it is a movie. For example, there is some random guy who appears throughout the film and plays guitar and sings (in a very insane/punk voice) some bizzare song. Nobody seems to notice to care about him. Additionally, Izo is frequently in one place then suddenly appears in another. Plus, the amount of blood and violence is so over the top, that it almost feels like a parody.
My working theory throughout the movie was that the character Izo was a physical representation of the idea of abjection. He is a formless form, a souless soul, he is living but his life is death, etc. Plus there is some line about how Izo is basically disruptor of the system and a contradition.
Furthermore, all of the blood and vommiting allude back to abjection — both of which are common ways of relaying the theory.
There is also some group of men who seem to somehow be behind Izo’s existence. I think they are related to war?
In my Postmodernism and Japanese Mass Culture class the professor suggested that pretty much every aspect of Japanese culture post-WWII is somehow influenced by the fact that they were defeated and the fact that the nuclear bomb was dropped on them (twice). Assuming that is true, Izo is a perfect example. In addition to strange conspiracy of men, there are also numerous cut-ins containing footage of the war and occupation and soldiers and Hitler.
Thus, I think Izo, in addition to being a manifestation of the theory of abjection, is also a manifestation for the guilt/pain/hypocrisy of war.
The film is filled with pretty profound one-liners, and I constantly wish I had a notebook with me so I could jot things down. Overall, I gave the movie 4/5 and will definitely be seeing it again (on DVD, though).