Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
Actors: Darling Narita, Peter Greene, Michael Newland, Erik Schrody, Michael Artura
Director: Ash Baron-Cohen
Genres: Drama, Mystery & Suspense
Raw, unpolished but very cool
kuroneko1 | Istanbul Turkey | 12/30/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Well, what we have here is a hidden and forgotten indie film. It is cheaply made, produced etc. But dont let all these factors fool you. This movie is very energetic as well as unique.
When I saw this film first, I was in London back in couple of years ago). I did not buy it but checked out the vhs case. Looked interesting. Just couple of weeks ago very surprisingly I found it in a supermarket's... basket in vcd format. I immediately grabbed it.
Film is focused on a young Japanese American girl's one day in city of angels (or as portrayed in the film, city of hell)
She encounters many strange, funny as well as horrifying incidents which are all captured by the director Ash's camera in a very plain, very raw but as well as very realistic style.Film is [placed] on the low life areas of LA where gangsters, homeless,drug dealers,prostitutes (like in every mega city in the world) are in plenty even on daylight.
Darling Narita the leading actress of the film portrays this pretty looking and broke Asian American girl so well that it almost gave me the feeling that the film is actually...a real life documentary.
She is no tuff tom boy, riott grlll,poor victim or foxy lady stereotype, instead a girl who is very normal, just like any of us with all her weaknesses and humanity who does a crazy thing and pays its price heavily as well as collecting its small rewards.
Peter Greene is also very good in his portrayal of an alcoholic and crazy homeless who is philosophical and friendly towards Narita. There are many issues spreaded around the film like living in LA under harsh conditions, [influenced] police officers, Gangster activities on day light, [threats] that women faces etc etc. Movie is sometimes politically correct some times just plain funny. Also in parts it is very violent but this violence is rather in the atmosphere of the film instead of bloody fist fights or raining bullets and splashing blood. Thus it is portrayed realistically and shows the limits of what a person can do under such conditions whether he or she is a victim or the villain (when Narita is helpless while a young hispanic is shot and bleeding to death or when she is beaten by a gang).In some of the scenes I just felt very disturbed even these scenes were gore, blood or fight free. It was like being there trapped into a hopeless and hellish abyss with Narita. (horror films never got me that way)
There are interesting points and clues to the soul of the film If you are in to the psychoanalsis of the movies. Indie Soundtrack (reggae & hip hop but on the lighter side) is also a strong companion to the hot and dirty atmosphere and the camera of the film without rather suffocating the scenes.
Film mostly differs itself from the road movies that dominates the US indie film making although you can see her cruisin with with the police bike often.Unlike most of the indie film makers. He also put lots of realism in brutal way rather than romanticisng it or making it just plain funny instead
Director Ash has done a great job with this film and could be the US indie equivalent of wong kar wai If given the chance.
...so go on give Ash's hard work a chance. Worth watching indeed."
Original, ridiculous, quasi-authentic
Dennis Littrell | SoCal | 03/21/2002
(3 out of 5 stars)
"This is an interesting movie with some superior shtick. It's outrageous of course, but there's a semi-plausibility to it throughout, once you accept the initial premise. Here it is: Asian kind of girl (Darling Narita) gets kicked out of her L.A. digs by a landlord thinking only of his mortgage payments. He just locks her out and tells her he is selling her stuff. But she has some hope: she has an audition with a Hollywood producer. His "office" is his home in the Hollywood hills. Before she goes in she befriends a schizophrenic street person. He hustles her for a dollar. Inside the house the "producer" proves to be particularly slimy and we can see he is just scamming her for sex, and when she doesn't come across he verbally abuses her and throws her out. The schizo dude meets her and trashes the street a little just to pent and splits as a motorcycle cop drives up. She runs because it looks like she did the trashing and he chases her into the lush hills where he handcuffs her and gives her a choice: On your knees and do the deed, or you'll spend a night in jail. After assuming the position she manages to grab his gun and handcuffs him to a tree. She has had a bad morning. She freaks and makes him strip and takes his uni, dons it, and his motorcycle and goes on to play cop around town.
She cruises some ghetto scenes and gets way into her act: she encounters pushers, dealers, killers, hookers, pimps, gangland lords and she gets totally envolved. Everybody thinks she's a cop, but she seems to forget herself sometimes. She hands out some money to some street people, runs out of gas and smokes some weed with a Latino hommie. By the way, the scene in the car with Juan and Jesus is just really excellent as it captures the barrio style. Then it gets a little rough. The cute cholo gets blasted in a drive by as his bro is filling her gas tank. She takes off after the perps and ends up shooting a dude. She spots this Asian hooker and tries to tell her she is doing wrong but gets kicked around by her and her pimp for her trouble.
Strange how the film has turned a little. She walked more than a mile in the cop's shoes and suddenly we have identification with the enemy in a sense. The movie is now a kind of slapstick symbolic jaunt showing how being a cop in the modern urban scene corrupts absolutely. (I wonder how much of this was intended by Director and writer Ash.)
She goes to the ocean to shake off what has happened to her. And then of course she returns to have her way with the lecherous producer and the wayward cop and further befriends the schizo dude. Ah, gee it's kind of sweet in a la la land sort of way.
Best joke on the square: CIA = Cocaine Import Agency."