Saturday, December 31, 2011

Battle Royale

While waiting for the upcoming release of 'The Hunger Games' I was reminded in my research of a great Japanese Movie (with a similar 'Lord of the Flies' ideas) called 'Battle Royale'

In the future, the Japanese government captures a class of ninth-grade students and forces them to kill each other under the revolutionary "Battle Royale" act.

The film does an excellent job at dispelling the notion that Japan is conformists, collectivists and not enough individualists. As the battle to the death begins it is often the individuals who can adapt and survive while the groups fall back on old habits that ultimately lead to their death.

They let us know right at the beginning how long it took for the game to wittle itself down to one survivor and show us who the survivor was. I guess it's not important WHO won just what they had to do to get to that victory - how they had to betray everything they were just to survive. It also keeps from hoping for any of the 40 or so student cast members.

I was surprised that this EVENT wasn't being televised like the similar situation in the upcoming 'Hunger Games'. I am sure in the context of the film, if youth found out that their peers were being exterminated to make a point, the true youth revolution the country feared would actually take place.

There is no point to this game other than revenge against a segment of society that no longer respect their elders in a proper way.

I laughed at some of the weapons the kids were randomly given. One person would get a machine gun while the guy next was forced to kill and defent himself with the lid of a cooking pot or a paper fan. That is some cold bullshit right there.

Of course such forced behavior brings out the true character of everyone involved. Those who fight back, well they get killed by their keepers. Those who refuse to fight, they are among the first to go.

I thought back to the many classes I have taught and wondered which out of the group in the pictures would come out on top. I taught a grade 8 girl named Shelby once who was the kind of kid you just KNEW would end up with her own talk show or comedy sitcom because she was so feirce, funny, sunny, enthusiastic and entertaining. She would probably win this little competition hands down. She knew how to adapt and to get the job DONE.


Lazarus Lupin said...

There is a subtle political point here that the games do. By reminding the OTHER students that they are nothing but individual animals who when push comes to shove will kill their classmates to survive it makes it that much harder for revolutionary groups to form. Trust has been destroyed at a very basic level.

Lazarus Lupin

Cal's Canadian Cave of Coolness said...

I thought something similar but couldn't express it as well as you did.

Belle said...

For me, the heroes would be those who refused to fight and died. Doing the right thing is worth dying for.

Anonymous said...

Saw this at Otafest a few years ago. One of the female leads is Chiaki Kuriyama, who also played the very scary Gogo Yubari in Kill Bill.

Budd said...

The book is much better and explores the politics and back stories of a lot of the characters.

Belle- If everyone was going to die except one person regardless of my actions, it might as well be me or the person of my choosing that makes it through. If they are trying to kill me, I will try to kill them back. Funny enough, that is the the philosophy of most of the students in BR. They would rather team up against the few bad apples and will worry about what happens is there is more than one of the good guys left when the time comes.

Cal's Canadian Cave of Coolness said...

Unfortunately the good ones have all the skills to kill easily and efficiently if they can overcome their moral repulsion. Killing the bad ones is giving them courage to kill those closest to them. They are practical. They know what the deal is. This one really stuck with me.