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Fish Story and I

Posted by Mick on June 14, 2010 – 11:49 pm

The story of my solitude
If my solitude were a fish
It’d be so enormous, so militant
A whale would get out of there

I know it would
I’m sure it would

I’ve already written a review of Fish Story.  I have no intention of doing another one.  And yet, I find myself in the mood to talk about it.  That’s quite the dilemma.

Resolution:  I’ll tell you how I got to this place, this place where my mind is overflowing with thoughts of Fish Story.

I suppose we should start at the beginning.  It’s sometime in late August, or early September, of 2009, and I’m working on my schedule for Fantastic Fest.  I opted to go into the Fest looking for surprises last year, my research on many of the films was minimal at best.  I decided to make some gut calls based on the synopsis of the film, or in some cases the programmer’s blurb.  I honestly didn’t even read all of the blurb for Fish Story.  I saw, in pretty much this order, the words JapanesePunk… and song that saved the world… I’m on board.  Beyond this, I wish to know nothing.

There are few finer experiences than walking into a movie completely blind, having little or no idea what you’re in for, and then having a film take you completely by surprise.  When I was a young lad of 14, I went to the theater to see a movie that had opened about a week earlier.  People were talking about it, but I hadn’t paid much attention.  I should probably point out at that at this age, 90% of my free time was spent obsessing about the band KISS.  Their new album, Love Gun, was coming out in a few months.  That was my focus.

The movie I walked in to, totally blind, was Star Wars.  It was a transcendent experience.  That’s what I was going for.

Saturday morning, I drag myself out of bed and drive to the Drafthouse for an 11:00 screening of Fish Story.  I almost changed my mind, Tara was going to see something else at 11:20 and it sounded like fun, but I decided to go with my gut.

Transcendence was attained.  The movie spoke to me.  The movie touched my soul.  I cried.  Big giant tears of joy rolling down my cheek.  When the credits rolled, I was as happy as… well, I’ve been happier, but not often.  I loved what the movie was saying.  I loved how the movie was saying it.

I loved that the movie made me feel good.

I feel the need to pause here and clarify that statement.  When I say it made me feel good, I mean “good”, as in “good versus evil”.  Fish Story made me feel good.

When I walked out of the theater, I was torn.  Part of me wanted to tell everyone I knew that this was the best film of the festival and they had to see it at the second screening.  Part of me didn’t want to mention it; I wasn’t sure I could talk about it without getting choked up.  Choked up is code.  It roughly translates as “blubbering like a little girl”.

And then it was gone.  And I’ve thought about it ever since, wishing I had a copy.  I despaired of ever getting a US release, so I began to troll the Asian DVD sites.  I finally found a release.  In Japan.  With no English subtitles.

No, I don’t speak Japanese.  Damn it.

Finally, success.  A release for the Korean market.  The Korean market releases get English subtitles.  I ordered one.  This is why I have a region free DVD player.  It arrived today.  I told myself I wasn’t going to watch it, I was just going to make sure it played, and check out the transfer.  I lied.  I watched the entire movie.  And I cried.  Big giant tears of joy.

And if you had a gun to my head, I couldn’t tell you if the transfer was any good.  I didn’t care.  I was watching my movie.  I was happy.  I felt good.

Did it hold up on a second viewing?  Indeed.  But that’s another story.  For another day.

Don’t you know you’re a liar!
Don’t you know you’re a deceiver!

Music stacked up like wooden blocks
Is the only salvation

Be good to each other.


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