As a longtime fan of Yoshimasa Ishibashi’s outrageous serial, Vermilion Pleasure Night, catching a glimpse of his equally insane Milocrorze: A Love Story was mandatory Fantasia viewing.
At Fantasia 2011, the film received both the Best Director and Silver Audience Awards. As with Vermilion Pleasure Night, this opus was no doubt based around the concept of relieving oneself of daily stressors and just letting loose with something nonsensical and fun.
The first of 3 short stories is about the titular character, Milocrorze. It is a colorful fairytale about obsessive love. The adult-like child Ovreneli Vreneligare is adorable with his long eyelashes and bright orange wig. But he eventually grows into a cringey overgrown version of himself, portrayed by Takayuki Yamada. Yamada wears multiple hats, playing the lead character in each story.
His Kumagai Besson character in story #2 is a chain-smoking mashup of Austin Powers meets foul-mouthed yakuza. The romance counselor gives horrid advice to meek young men trying to win over their love interests. On off moments, he can be seen swaggering down the street with scantily clad backup dancers. This calls to mind Vermilion Pleasure Night’s choreography-laced skits.
Plastic women with outrageous wigs soon give way to the third story. Yamada now as an obsessed samurai, slashes through a brothel in search of his lost love. The showpiece of the entire film is the battle scene of this segment. It is shot in fabulous slow motion with deliberately airborne props (plates, bowls, unattended swords). Set in an interior with many doors and rooms, the whole thing appears to be one long uncut scene. There is however one subtle cut, but blink and the effect is the same as a one-shot assassination sequence. Impressively choreographed with a large set of actors!
Milocrorze is more about its filmmaking journey than its destination. It’s all very over the top, but the work put in explains the awards it won in 2011. Happy travels.
Milocrorze: A Love Story – available On Demand until September 2nd, 2020