Forgot just how claustrophobic and uncomfortable this film can be despite its luminous setting. A formally precise, tactically uncomfortably experience in which the decadent veneer slowly erodes to reveal the pervasive sorrow that permeates throughout the spaces these characters inhabit. A story of tedium and restriction - soulful fulfillment impossible within the socio-economical strictures at play; Love an impossible task. Work out of monetary necessity provides no fulfillment, only longing for something which transcends the material world. Among Hou's work, Flowers of Shanghai never was a personal favorite of mine but it's undeniably great at unearthing the underlying anguish and instability that slowly erodes the surface level pleasures of this environment - the authorship and craft involved here is simply put, masterful. In retrospect, I'm extremely glad I didn't revisit this during lockdown last year. I attempted to, but I couldn't bear watching the pan and scan DVD I had - a blessing in disguise given the sense of restriction this film creates. I'm not sure I could have taken it.
Idle hands are the devil's playthings.
As one would expect from a Poliziotteschi film, what Savage Three lacks in thematic subtlety it makes up for in absurd levels of depravity and abject violence. A reactionary, reflection on society and the propensity for violence that lurks in the heart of stasis, or simply put boredom. Has some truly memorable scenes, but none quite hit as hard as the blissfully diabolically sequence in which Joe Dallesandro's character dispenses of his wife. The cat-and-mouse game is clever, the formal style sturdy at enunciating the underlying exploitative conception of man's propensity towards violence and the fine-line between civility and barbarism, and with the final scene, Savage Three posits that this type of depravity is simply assured and continuous - despite the justice being dealt, there are many others ecologically speaking, who simply just need to a slight push in order to embrace the moral decay of society and their carnal impulse for pleasure-seeking in which respectability toward their fellow man is unnecessary. Reactionary nihilism has perhaps never been more entertaining.
Love of all things cinema brought me here.