Written by: Johan Fundin on November 23rd, 2006
Approximate running time: 96 mins
Aspect Ratio: Widescreen, Colour, 35mm
Director: Minoru Kawasaki
Writer: Minoru Kawasaki, Masazaku Migita
Cinematography: Takashi Suga
Cast: Kenji Kohashi, Shuuji Kashiwabara, Masatoshi Matsuo, Blake Crawford, Gregory Pekar, Arthur Kuroda, Dave Spector
The brand new Kawasaki film – screened at Leeds (UK) only 10 days after the Japanese premiere – is a satirical science-fiction set in the year 2011. What would happen if all the continents in the world sank, leaving only Japan above water? Now the only superpower in the world, Japan is able to dictate the law – and does it. English is not the global language any longer. The Japanese are now the most powerful people in a world where 12.5 million non-Japanese refugees are homeless. This hilarious though controversial satire pokes fun at global superpowers, western traditions and foreign immigrants.
Could a film be banned in the USA nowadays? In The World Sinks Except Japan, every joke is cracked on the expense of foreigners, most notably the Americans. If the subject was the other way around I believe the film could have been banned in several Asian countries. We are witnessing American female celebrities now degraded to work as prostitutes in Japanese cities. A Bill Clinton look-alike President is saving his own life in a selfish and cowardly way by taking off on board Air Force One, leaving his fellow citizens behind on the sinking continent of America. While groping for sexy stewardesses on board, the confident and smiling President is addressing the surviving American people via live TV, encouraging them to be brave. To do this, he is singing a patriotic song about his own hometown in Kentucky.
The outrageous satire goes on and on, uninterruptedly during its 96 minutes. Western women are working as maids for wealthy Japanese men. The modern Japanese film industry is now shooting Godzilla movies where homeless foreigners (including a once celebrated Hollywood actor) are used as extras only to be crushed under the monster’s feet to audiences’ delight. Another hilarious scene is played out in a bar where a group of discussing (and drinking and smoking) Japanese men are trying to remember the great American female movie actors, but all the names that spring to their mind are those of hardcore porn stars only. Wave after wave of crazy imagery is thrown in the face of the viewer. And before it all is over, a heavily armed terrorist group from the Chinese continent has arrived (in a revenge mission for WW2 Japanese occupation), doses of bullets from machineguns have been fired, and a massive earthquake has been squeezed in to wrap up the ultimate catastrophe in the end. Check out The World Sinks Except Japan for a wild journey into outlandish satire.
At this date it seems that The World Sinks Except Japan is unavailable in any home video format, so to watch the film one has to try catching an independent art house screening or a film festival that draws attention to the director’s work. An American DVD studio, Pathfinder Home Entertainment, released another Kawasaki film, Calamari Wrestler, last year, so hopefully the studio (or any other DVD studio for that matter) will continue releasing Kawasaki’s films on DVD. The most important thing for the moment is that Minoru Kawasaki has finally been discovered in the western world; the future looks promising!