SIFF Double Feature – The Legend of the Stardust Brothers and Timeless Beauty
The Legend of the Stardust Brothers: This lost 1985 musical directed by Macoto Tezuka builds on Phantom Of The Paradise and The Rocky Horror Picture Show to create Japan’s own goofy rock opera. Amateur singers Kan (Kan Takagi) and Shingo (Shingo Kubota) are brought together by a mysterious music mogul who wants to turn them into Japan’s number one band. AND HE DOES! Kan and Shiga, along with superfan and wannabe singer Marimo (Kyôko Togawa), experience the heady highs of fame. But what goes up must come down, and their place at the top is threatened by newcomer Kaworu Niji (Issay). How will the boys cope with this new challenge? Will Kan ever figure out that Marimo could be more than just a friend? What kind of pot is Shingo smoking that his hallucinations are that spectacular?
I feel like a total grinch not liking this movie. It’s okay, but about 15 minutes in I had a sudden realization that I don’t enjoy this kind of film. (I sort of like Tommy, but I am a Ken Russell freak so I am not sure that counts.) That’s a bummer because there is a lot here for fans of the genre. About half the songs are pretty good, Kyôko Togawa is adorable, there are tons of fun set pieces, and there is a lot of weird visual candy. It’s just not my thing. There are tons of antics (which I am on record as not being a fan of) and some parts were dead boring to me. But if you like any of the aforementioned movies and/or shenanigans then you should totally go see this. People whose judgment I trust really enjoyed it. (I am not telling you to smoke some pot beforehand, but I live in a legal weed state and, well, some people do that; it might be beneficial here. I do not imbibe personally, although, the last time I did I made my husband watch Funny Girl and I sang all the songs to him. Loudly. So I guess I don’t totally hate musicals.)
The Legend of the Stardust Brothers plays at the SIFF Cinema Egyptian on May 31st, June 2nd, and June 6th.
Final Grade: B
Timeless Beauty: This documentary directed by Deyan Parouchev takes a look at the current trend in the fashion industry towards casting older models and other people who don’t conform to traditional beauty standards. About two-thirds of the interviewees are conventionally beautiful, white older models (and one beautiful Chinese actress) talking about how much they like modeling. The last third is interviews with other types of nonconventional-looking people – only one of which is not ridiculously good looking in a fairly standard way. (And he’s still quite striking.) This feels more like it should be a 45-minute show for a cable fashion channel than an 85 minute feature film, mostly because there is no real point of view. The thesis of the film is 1) There are more types of people modeling than ever before! 2) Here are some people who like to model! 3) Here are some other people that want them to model! The one thing they do really right is have an actual fat person talk about her plus-size modeling career instead of someone who is a size 14.
Please note that I am not a fashion hater. I LOVE fashion as an art form. In my life, I am a pretty dull dresser, but I make my own clothes and am usually pretty happy with what I’ve got going on. (My style is boring, functional, and well-fitted.) I like beautiful clothing as art objects, but as kind of an ugly gal who has a pretty interesting life, I question the idea of beauty being important. No matter what they say, not everyone is beautiful, and I am cool with that. Being beautiful confers a lot of advantages, but should a quirk of genetics really matter that much? This film doesn’t challenge that idea, only that what we think of has beautiful has broadened over time. Which is true! Older people should be models and are more than their age! But it’s not much to base a feature film on, and I wish there was more here to savor.
Timeless Beauty plays at the AMC Pacific Place on May 31 and June 7th and Shoreline Community Collge on June 1st.
Final Grade: C