Toyoda's short running feature film "Monster's Club" is rather simple, yet radically poetic and beautifully shot re-telling of the Ted Kaczynski (aka Una-Bomber) story, from a Japanese context. After an interesting introduction that snags your attention. We find ourselves following a rather young man named Ryoichi (Eita). When he first appears on screen his youth struck me. I was expecting a much older man. This is, perhaps, a commentary on the role of youth in the catalyzation of revolution and instigation social change. Born into wealth, but having lost most of his family to various tragedies, Ryoichi has become alienated by society and, thus, chosen to reject it entirely. Taking his inheritance, he has retreated into the pristine Mountains of Japan where he leads a Thoreauian lifestyle. Meanwhile, he carries out acts of vengeance on a society that he believes is responsible for making the lives of people so empty that they would rather kill themselves than go on living in such a world- something he takes very personally. With this, Toyoda has departed from Kasczynski's motives and made the story particularly Japanese. Japan is a country with one of the highest suicide rates in the world. In one of his soliloquies Ryoichi quotes a statistic that 90 people commit suicide in Japan each day. Also important to note, is a disturbing trend that has recently developed: where people head off into Aokigahara Forest, at the foot of Mount Fuji, to kill themselves- a site which also has important significance in Japanese mythology for being a place of demons. Much like Kaczynski though, Ryoichi sends package bombs- that he makes from old cigar cases and inscribes with the letters MC- to high ranking corporate psychopaths responsible for perpetuating the greed, manipulation, materialism, apathy, submission and general emptiness that plague all corporate technocratic societies. His recipients include an advertising executive; a telecom CEO and pandering politicians. His war; a message. One day his sister shows up at his cabin unexpectedly, and this meeting triggers something inside Ryoichi. He starts to have visits/visions/hallucinations from/of these odd plaster and cloth covered- yet very Japanese looking- demons. These demons soon turn into his dead relatives and, after looking at an old photo that his sister finds in the cabin, he also becomes haunted by the past memories that this image has evoked. It is clear that the meeting and discussion he has with his sister, in combination with the absolute isolation in which he lives, has triggered a conflict of conscience inside Ryoichi. One that he is struggling to overcome as he introspectively reflects upon his life and actions. One that ultimately leads to the films relatively abstract conclusion. While I felt that Toyoda could have developed the message a little bit more (which would have also made it a little longer), anyone who has read and resonated with Kaczynski's Manifesto will surely enjoy this film. From a Cinematic perspective, it is beautifully shot; and emits an aura much similar to that of Buñuel's "Simon Of The Desert". The acting is also excellent. At 72 minutes, the film is a little short- but hey, so was Buñuel's film (an explanation for the short runtime, perhaps?)- and not free from criticism- I particularly found the ending to be a bit rushed and was a little disappointed the message wasn't developed better. But overall it is a very atmospheric and well made film that focuses on an extremely interesting subject matter in an intriguing way. Anarchists, Luddites and other radically-minded individuals: take note and inquire within. 7.5 out of 10.
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Having abandoned modern civilization, Ryoichi lives an isolated, self-sufficient life on a snow-covered mountain and sends mail bombs to the CEOs of corporations and TV networks. One day, he encounters a mysterious creature in the fo
November 11, 2021