Terayama's most melancholic work. A young man passes through hell and paradise in his dreams and receives the memory of a children’s lullaby as proof of passage.
For the voice of a child
I thought I heard an alarm bell ringing
Pulled from my sleep
By invisible hands
The gentle sound of a lady singing” – The Chameleons
A film of blatant phallocentric metaphors and a criticism of Japanese society.
In one important shot, a military man (what military?) like the black widow before him, pulls out nails in an attempt to desexualize the male, who, as symbolized in the previous shot, has degraded to a voyeur. But his efforts are apparently useless because the young man continues to stumble with the heaviness of his damaged phallus. The fade to white (as in Grass Labyrinth, where it signifies a lost childhood) was meant to invite audiences to hammer nails into screens with a mournful rock song by J. A. Seazer serving as soundtrack.
Along with Traces of Smoke (1992), Sepio constitutes one of the finest dedications to absence and memory that I’ve ever seen. Not even the latter half of Vertigo is weighted with more longing. Sepio constantly omits her face, Traces of Smoke limits her presence to hearsay: who is that? who is who? ...until she draws herself. In Sepio, we are manipulated into longing to see her face again while she remembers her beloved.
In cinematics it might be considered oppressive…
Ferrara’s most remarkable film because of its incompleteness, which due to the nature of the medium (in dissolves, cuts, ellipses), is a totality by omission. That Sandii is Pandora armed not with a box but a computer disc is an afterthought. What is truly disconcerting is the fusion between dream, memory, and video recording that permeates throughout the film. X’s recollections during the latter half of the film in particular constitute a cinematic stream of consciousness that I’ve only encountered…
"Sex created the brain, says Przybyszewski, but between them there will always be a constant fight that will inevitably lead to death and destruction."
"And suddenly something opened and we could see far, far into heaven, and saw angels float, quietly smiling."
And so continues the conflict between human nobility and animal instinct. The recollection of this film always offers me so much.
I’m happy to report that 79 primaveras remains one of my favorite pieces of militant cinema.
It's unfortunate that some may avoid this film out of political principle or speculation that it is only an idolatry piece to Ho Chi Minh. Santiago Álvarez never married music and images as poignantly as he did here. The last eight minutes render Godard's Maoist films into de trop cinema. I am always overwhelmed by them.
One of the saddest films. And not just because of the tragic fate of Philippe Marlaud, but also for the film’s nuances on love and chance encounters that lead nowhere and yet reveal everything.
She’s the one
who steers me through dust
and pools, the one who guides me
across the city, who helps me
when I can’t move my eyes
She turns my head and says,
"There is a post office;
there is a public theater ..."
- Robert Fernandez