|There’s a TIFF programmer in those pyjamas.|
Colin has said that this year Midnight Madness is about discovery, but as a (relatively) long time Midnight Madness acolyte, this year feels more like a return to Midnight Madness roots. In the last few years, MM has been associated with cutting edge horror, and while that’s true, there’s also a long tradition of action, rock’n’roll, documentary, comedy and films that make an audience go, “WTF?”
Smuggler follows in a long line of insanely awesome Japanese movies at MM. Fellow Japanese filmmakers who have shown repeatedly at Midnight Madness include: MM All-Star, Takashi Miike with Fudoh: The New Generation (1997), The City of Lost Souls (2000), Ichi The Killer (2001), Gozu (2003), Zebraman (2004) The Great Yokai War (2005), Sukiyaki Western Django (2007)); Shinya Tsukamoto with Tetsuo/Iron Man/ Tetsuo: The Iron Man (1990), Tetsuo 2 /Tetsuo: The Bodyhammer (1992), and Tokyo Fist (1995); and, most recently, Hitoshi Matsumoto with Dainipponjin/Big Man Japan (2007) and Symbol (2009).
But less well-known filmmakers like Tetsuro Takeuchi amazed the Uptown with his “rock’n’roll JET movie,” Wild Zero (2000):
And in 1998 Lance Mungia envisioned a future in which the King is dead. (Though MM acolytes know that the King is in a nursing home in Nacogdoches, Texas):
There’s also Jung Jun-Hwan’s almost uncategorizable Save the Green Planet (2003)–a brutal sci fi “torture porn” romantic comedy with action elements?
And the animated wonder of Stephane Aubier and Vincent Patar’s A Town Called Panic (2009)
But for me, the quintessential WTF Midnight Madness movie will always be Pornchai Hongrattanaporn’s Bangkok Loco (2005) about a drummer who might or might not have committed murder and can save the world through a drum duel. It features a bunch of Thai visual puns that are probably hilarious if you understand Thai.