This week our writers delve deep into the brutal fight for survival in their exploration of Kinji Fukasaka's Japanese teen-horror BATTLE ROYALE (2000).
Released at the start of the millennium, BATTLE ROYALE (Kinji Fukasaka 2000) explores multiple issues that were at the forefront of concern for Japanese society. Even today the film holds just as potent a message about youth and a society addicted to violence.
The film's premise - school children fighting to their death - can at first appear to be totally absurd. But as with other socio-political horrors, such as DAWN OF THE DEAD (George A. Romero 1978) and THE HOST (Bong Joon-Ho 2006), this initially unrealistic concept works in its favour. The film presents a world filled with insanity and, most disturbing of all, a world that is not too far away from our own. Commenting on western society's relationship with violence, the film uses excessive bloodshed, overly-malicious characters and inventive weapons such as tasers and crossbows to create a world in which humans must commit the worst atrocities in order to survive. The most disheartening aspect is just how fast a person's character and morals can change when their own interests are at stake, displayed at its most extreme when Kazushi Nîda (Hirotito Honda) viciously shoots Yoshio Akamatsu (Shin Kusaka) with a crossbow in the first few minutes of the battle.
BATTLE ROYALE is a film that asks the audience to consider how far they would go to survive in the same situation but also how far society would go when faced with equally difficult problems. The film highlights the inexcusable lack of humanity that already exists within our everyday culture and acts as a forewarning for what is seemingly imminent. The film is a harrowing depiction of a bleak future, a future where all our current failures are maximised to their fullest. Most harrowing of all is the lack of alternative choices that the film gives us.
Every day this week a different writer will provide their perspective on our MUBIVIEWS film and each post will be open to comments from our readers. Watch BATTLE ROYALE on mubi.com until 30 May 2017 and join the discussion!
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