Thursday, August 06, 2015

Princess Raccoon

So I am an acient dinosaur who still has a Netflix DVD account. Primarily because there's a bunch of stuff in my queue that isn't available streaming anywhere so I'm trying to work my way through it. Which is how I ended up with a few odd older films lately, because they've worked their way to the top of my queue and honestly I can't even remember adding them let alone why I did. Though in the case of Princess Raccoon, I actually can remember seeing something about it came out and thinking it looked interesting. Plus I do like Zhang Ziyi quite a bit. So I left it on the list, and then a few weeks ago it finally made it's way to me.

Now, one thing that I have to say up front is that while I like foreign movies usually, I am not usually too big of a fan of surreal filmmaking. It's just not my thing. And to be honest, I wish I had paid enough attention before renting the film to know that this was a very surreal and abstract piece in a lot of ways.
Really that's the bulk of what my impression of it is, because the storyline is only sort of losely pursued, and it's so very basic and skeletal that there's not all that much to say about it. There's a king who is basically the evil stepmother from Snow White (literally asking who is the fairest and sending someone to kill his son when he discovers his son will soon be the fairest). The twist is instead of asking a magic mirror, he asks a Catholic woman who is probably meant to be a witch or a nun or both, honestly I have no idea.

The son of course doesn't die, and ends up falling in love with a woman in the forest who turns out to be Princess Raccoon (actually, she's Tanuki-hime, and a tanuki is not a raccoon, but that's one of those things not worth pursuing a rant about here). Men aren't meant to love raccoons, and so of course there is peril, a quest, somebody dies, somebody doesn't actually die, and so on. Honestly it's a very predictable story if you wrote out what actually happens, the thing is with it being so surreal it's the details that get really weird. "Now the raccoon lady is slapping her stomach to make a gong sound so she can battle the Catholic witch who is throwing paper streamers at her." "I think she was turning into a demon but the magic frog chirped and she put on her lipstick and now she's okay." Did I mention it's a musical?

The performances in the film were good, and it was a very well done example of what it is and the type of film it wanted to be. But it was just not at all my thing, and so I don't think I'll be looking for more like this anytime soon.

But if you like really, really weird foreign films, give it a try?