Director – Kiyoshi Kurosawa – 2013 – Japan – 29m
A company director steals a woman worker’s name tag and she fights and kickboxes him and his people to get it back – currently on MUBI as part of The Uncanny Universe of Kiyoshi Kurosawa
A young man (Emoto Tasuku) is president of the company he has inherited from his father. His right hand man encourages him to pitch on a development project on the side of the river. He hangs out on a construction site and watches the workers go about their jobs. He is particularly taken with woman worker Takako (Mita Moa).
So much so that he tries to strike up a conversation with her, but she ignores him. Indeed, she goes out of her way to vanish from his sight to where he can’t find her. So he later in her full view steals her name tag from a board and hides it in his office. He instructs his security that if the woman appears in his building, she is to be thrown out.
That sets up the final ten plus minutes of the short in which to access his office and her purloined name tag she must physically kickbox her way past several guards to fight him for the tag. It’s a pretty silly idea but most entertaining to watch, with Kurosawa proving that, among other things, he is a terrific director of action and fight sequences.
Our sympathies are very much with the woman, who has clearly got something of a bad deal here, and we’re thrilled as people are thrown over desks scattering office sundries and computers onto the floor. A minion comes in, strikes a few half-hearted blows then retreats behind a door before she can strike him back. Eventually she gets to the president, who seems to be enjoying the whole experience like some bizarre sort of game.
It’s an enjoyable lightweight piece, worth seeing if you admire the director, but there’s not really all that much to it. Except that the stunts are shot and delivered with a breathtaking freshness. The whole thing feels completely bonkers.
Beautiful New Bay Area Project is currently on MUBI as part of The Uncanny Universe of Kiyoshi Kurosawa.