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March 21, 2014 7:10 AM   Subscribe

God Speed You! Black Emperor (1976) is a documentary of the Japanese bōsōzoku (motorcycle gang) calling themselves "Black Emperors," and their interactions with the law, their parents and each other.
posted by griphus (13 comments total) 52 users marked this as a favorite

 
Thanks for finding this! I've heard of it since hearing of the band that took their name from this docu, and never actually found the film. It seems like one of those band facts that so many people know but haven't actually seen, like the band Xiu Xiu is named after "the title of the most depressing movie ever, Xiu Xiu: The Sent-Down Girl." (Which is also online, it seems, but enough of that tangent.)
posted by filthy light thief at 7:20 AM on March 21 [3 favorites]


Well, that solves the mystery of the name of the band I was too lazy to research for myself.
posted by chesty_a_arthur at 7:59 AM on March 21 [9 favorites]


It has English subtitles! Given the yellow and red handwriting font, I'm assuming fansubs.

Other than the band naming itself after the movie what makes this film interesting? It looks like a sort of cinema verité throwback to me, which given it's documentary isn't entirely surprising. But black and white was an odd choice in 1976.
posted by Nelson at 8:15 AM on March 21


Levez vos skinny fists and all that.
posted by GallonOfAlan at 8:23 AM on March 21 [2 favorites]


...what makes this film interesting?

It's just a day-in-the-life look at the lives of a bunch of rebellious teenagers and the society around them in a very specific time and place. I guess if that sort of thing isn't inherently interesting to you, I don't think it would be particularly interesting as a work of film.
posted by griphus at 8:28 AM on March 21 [1 favorite]


I've seen a great many more depressing movies than Xiu Xiu: The Sent-Down Girl. In fact, I didn't think it was depressing at all.

That band sound depressing though.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 8:29 AM on March 21


Other than the band naming itself after the movie what makes this film interesting?

Er... bosozoku and yankii appear in plenty of Japanese media, from pinky violence movies in the 70s to Akira to Kamikaze Girls/ Shimotsuma Monogatari. One of the many criticisms of the Hollywood remake of Akira was that Kaneda's bosozoku gang simply does not translate to the Sons of Anarchy type of American biker gangs.

yeah, i know, eponysterical
posted by sukeban at 8:30 AM on March 21 [1 favorite]


That band sound depressing though.

Yes, beautifully so.
posted by filthy light thief at 8:33 AM on March 21 [1 favorite]


It looks like a sort of cinema verité throwback to me, which given it's documentary isn't entirely surprising.

A clever choice to shoot their documentary as though it were a documentary.
posted by shakespeherian at 10:08 AM on March 21 [8 favorites]


I have been wanting to see this for almost 15 years. Thank you!
posted by Our Ship Of The Imagination! at 10:40 AM on March 21


Their meetings seem barely more wild than MeFi meetups, yet it's more than enough to make them rebels.
posted by ignignokt at 7:09 PM on March 21


Nelson: "what makes this film interesting?"

That exclamation mark though.
posted by Joakim Ziegler at 8:40 PM on March 21


ignignokt: "Their meetings seem barely more wild than MeFi meetups, yet it's more than enough to make them rebels."

I haven't been able to watch the video yet, but I suspect it's like most things like that. Gangs in the US, I imagine, usually meet up and play video games or dominos, drink beer, talk shit. The average meetup isn't what makes these kinds of groups rebellious -- it's the extreme meetups. An extreme MeFi meetup might end up with people kicked out of a bar for being too rambunctious, while an extreme bosozoku meetup might end up with bricks being thrown through police car windshields, or innocent bystanders getting beat up/mugged. That's what makes them rebels. Not the standard meeting.
posted by Bugbread at 6:09 AM on March 24 [1 favorite]


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