Also Known As: Dare to Stop Us, Tomerareru ka, oretachi o

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  • clara-marin
    clara marin

    I watch a lot of Japanese films and feel like I have a fairly good understanding of the history of these films, but, full disclosure I wasn’t familiar with Koji Wakamatsu. I hope I haven’t lost complete credibility but I am just emphasizing coming into this film without any pre-conceptions or expectations.Koji Wakamatsu was considered a radical filmmaker who early on directed mostly “pink films,” soft core porn films that in today’s cinema wouldn’t be considered quite so provocative. This film recreates his early years through the eyes of a young woman, Megumi, who takes a job as his assistant.Megumi goes from mistreated assistant to an integral part of Wakamatsu’s film group. There is a collection of people who make the films with him, each taking on different roles. Some of the group stay as the years go by and others leave. From start to finish, it’s an interesting illustration of filmmaking. One of the elements that I enjoyed about it.Another element I enjoyed quite a lot, was the lead character Megumi. We get to see her transformation from somewhat frightened newcomer to seasoned pro and integral part of Wakamatsu’s film group. A very endearing character as you watch her trials and tribulations with Wakamatsu and the rest of the group and also, why I found her suicide at the end upsetting. The viewer goes on this journey with her, only to see her die. She finds out that she is pregnant and elects to die rather then abort the baby or keep it. We don’t learn much about her reasons other then she grew up without any real family to speak of. This is all based on real events and actually happened so, for me, ended the film on a sad note.Even though Megumi ends her life, I enjoyed watching her story unfold, however, since Dare to Stop Us is about Koji Wakamatsu, oddly, I can’t say I learned much about him. This is my main complaint about the film.I enjoyed all the filmmaking aspects of Dare to Stop Us, but I really learned very little about Wakamatsu. At times, even, he seemed like a caricature. I don’t fault the actor, I get the feeling that’s what the script called for, but he never seemed very believable. He stomps around and fusses and smokes and drinks, exactly what you’d expect from a film about a renegade filmmaker. But it never feels very authenticate. Odd, since, at the same time, I was really enjoying and growing attached to Megumi, who always felt real and the film is supposedly and ultimately about Wakamatsu.Honestly, I did enjoy the film as is, but I think I would much have preferred it focus even more on Megumi and on who she was. Dare to Stop Us really feels like her film, and Wakamatsu a side character. Megumi was a very fascinating person and it would have been even more interesting to learn about her, who she was, her family, what really lead her to suicide.Yes, I would like to learn more about Wakamatsu, as well, but I think maybe in a different film or through a documentary. Dare to Stop Us is Megumi’s film and I would have liked to have seen it be more about her.All in all though, an interesting film and definitely worth seeing.