Robinson's Garden
Director: Masashi Yamamoto

Reviewed by Paghat the Ratgirl

Robinson's Garden James Jarmusch's cinematographer Tom DiCillo joined forces with independent Japanese filmmaker Masashi Yamamoto, for Robinson's Garden (Robinson no niwa, 1987), an occasionally surreal often emotional film with eerie atmospherics, largely ignored in the west though hugely deserving of attention.

The film is missing a few ingredients generally required by the masses. It has no story to speak of; the dialog is not the point either; & unless you have a broad sense of sexiness, there are no sexy people in it in the sense of young pert beauties.

At two hours length I can imagine the well-washed & brainwashed masses being bored to death by the lack of narrative drive, & annoyed by moments of obvious pretension. These are traits that would ordinarily annoy me as well, but Robinson's Garden strikes me as an exception.

Viewers who weary of "commercially effective" films that have no soul, no artistry, & plenty of conventionalism, should step up to this unusual, edgy, impressionistic portrait of a woman (Kumiko Ota) who manages to build a private world of mystical aestheticism in poverty, homelessness, introversion, alienation, & madness.

One of Yamamoto's stated goals in filmmaking is "the destruction of unity" so that one scene does not flow logically into the next; rather, anything can follow anything. Whether this is effective or only affectation is up to the viewer to decide, but for me, once I got over the desire for a plot, I was drawn very deeply into the film's own absurdist logicality.

copyright by Paghat the Ratgirl

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