La mort de Louis XIV
Nocturama (Previously Unreleased)
Certain Women (Previously Unreleased)
L'amant double
Dunkirk
Beyond Time and Space

The Complex

Japan, 2013 | Hideo Nakata
Hassouna Mansouri checks in from Amsterdam to report on Nakata Hideo's new film, who returns to his Japanese roots with horror film The Complex.

With The Complex, Nakata Hideo confirms his mastery of the horror genre. Since his debut in 1998 with Ringu, the Japanese director showed that he definitely made his choice for this genre as a path. After a detour through the western world, where several of his films were remade in English, Nakata now returns to his Japanese roots. The story takes place somewhere in a Japanese neighbourhood where a young woman needs to be exorcised. As usual, Nakata builds his fantastical atmosphere on the idea of a fluctuating border between two worlds. It is through the organization of this va-et-vient between here and there in terms of time and space that he manipulates the spectator and his emotions.

We all know that feeling of déjà-vu, those moments when you have the feeling that what you are seeing and hearing has happened already at another time in your life. You can't say when or where precisely, but you're sure it has happened before. Some people see it as a remnant from another life. Others seek biological neuro-scientific explanations in the workings of our memory, our neurones. The Japanese filmmaker uses these ideas and mechanisms as an invisible thread, a throughline for his screenplay. The multiplication of these moments of confusion between time and space leads to a progressive transition from this world to the world of death.

The moment when the borderline between the two worlds becomes obvious is the key moment in a fantastical story. In most films the events begin in our world in order to shape the other at a certain moment. The Complex begins the other way round.

At the beginning of the film Asuka is already hijacked in the world of death. The first scenes show her with her parents and her brother. In a very subtle way, Nakata puts some signs that you hardly notice (but that are supposed to be seen) to show that something is wrong with what we see. The young girl starts to notice that her parents pronounce the same words every time they have breakfast. The same scene is repeated many times, with small variations in every repetition.

Asuka has the feeling that her parents say the same things at different moments, but in fact her consciousness is reproducing a single moment from her life to which she is particularly attached. The first anomaly of getting out of 'normal' life is when you understand that time is no longer linear but circular.

At that point, the fight between two logics starts. The first one takes you to the future; the other one brings you back to the past. In fact, past and future aren't that different anymore. A force pulls you to that undistinguished moment when you are very close to entering the other world. Does it matter whether this moment belongs to the past or to the future? It is definitely out of time.

For Asuka, this moment came thirteen years ago (time of life), when she was the only survivor of a strange accident that claimed forty victims. The story of the film is structured by different moments of articulation between the two timelines. Every moment Asuka has a vision of the past is a call to join the other world. Every vision is an opening in the wall separating the two worlds. The more frequent these visions become, the more this wall becomes transparent, the more eminent the shift to the world of death gets, and the more emotional the sphere of the film becomes.

Horror is a feeling that the director develops according to a certain dosage of interaction between this world and the other world. The appearance of Asuka's family is more like nostalgic remembrance. Mr. Shinosaky shows the path and disappears. The presence of the kid Minoru grows in an imperceptible manner until becoming very threatening to the life of the young woman. These different characters lead Asuka to her end, but she is nice to all of them. Surprisingly, the film is not built on the dichotomy between good and evil, but on the opposition between life and death, presented as a cold and merciless relationship with no margin for any feelings.

Perhaps Nakata has a pessimist vision of our life. From our point of view, Asuka survived the accident in which all her family members died. But from another perspective, this moment is not over. While the young woman lived on physically, psychologically she stayed precisely at that moment, hanging between this world and the one where her family has gone.

It's not only a question of time, it's also about space. Asuka is enclosed from everywhere. Wherever she goes, she comes face to face with incarnations of death. The fact that she is drawn to Mr. Shinosaky, her old neighbour, and Minoru, her mysterious young friend whom she alone sees, is a translation of this link to the 'somewhere else' where she belongs psychologically. She feels irresistibly attracted to the old man because he is about to die. She naturally follows the little boy because of the strange circumstances of his death. Even the young man Sasahara, whom she knows because he works in the cleaning company that took care of the apartment of Mr. Shinozaki, feels easily acquainted to her because he, too, has a connection to death: his girlfriend is in a deep coma after an accident. As she is physically hanging between life and death, he does too, because of the strong relationship he has with her.

Nakata Hideo gives a psychological interpretation of the uncanny. He translates it cinematographically in a very special way to deal with time and space. He uses the codes of the horror genre in order to visualize the projection of one onto the other. The cadence he gives to these shifting moments during the story is the main trick up his sleeve to enhance all kind of feelings — fear, sympathy, horror, and suffocation. The shift in time according to visions from the past are projections in the future, the same as these doors and walls which are not as opaque as the border seems to be between the two worlds. Death, even though it i hard to admit, is nothing more than a moment where time such as we know it doesn't exist, or a location that is penetrable from that side and the other — unlike our beliefs.

Hassouna Mansouri is a film critic and writer based in Amsterdam. He's a columnist for Eutopia Institute, correspondent for Nation Media Group and the author of several books on cinema: De l'identité (Tunisia, 2000) and L'image confisquée (The Netherlands, 2010). He recently published his third book, They Will Not Represent Themselves... (Belgium, 2012).



top
The Complex

Filmkrant #351, February 2013

Slow Criticism 2013

Titelindex


ABCDEFGHIJKLMNOPQRSTUVWXYZ1&


C

C'EST ARRIVÉ PRÈS DE CHEZ VOUS
C'EST DÉJÀ L'ÉTÉ
C'EST PAS MOI, JE LE JURE!
C'EST QUOI LA VIE?
C.R.A.Z.Y.
ÇA COMMENCE AUJOURD'HUI
CABIN FEVER
The Cabin in the Woods
CABLE GUY
CACHÉ
CACHORRO
CADILLAC GIRLS
Caesar Must Die
Cafard
Café de Flore
CAFE DE LOS MAESTROS
CAFÉ FLESH
Café Society
IL CAIMANO
Câini
CAIRO TIME
A CAIXA
CALENDAR
CALENDAR GIRLS
CALIFORNIA DREAMIN' (ENDLESS)
CALIMUCHO
Call Girl
CALLE 54
EL CALLEJON DE LOS MILAGROS
CALLING E.T.
CALVAIRE
Calvary (Previously Unreleased)
Camille Claudel 1915
The Campaign
CAN'T U HEAR ME SINGIN'
CANADIEN BACON
CANDY
CANDY
EL CANT DELS OCELLS
LA CANTANTE DE TANGO
The Canyons
CAOS CALMO
CAÓTICA ANA
CAPITÃES DE ABRIL
Il capitale umano
CAPITALISM, A LOVE STORY
CAPOTE
Capsule (Imagine)
CAPTAIN ABU RAED
Captain America: Civil War
Captain America: The First Avenger 3D
Captain America: The Winter Soldier 3D
CAPTAIN CORELLI'S MANDOLIN
Captain Fantastic
Captain Phillips
Capture the Flag (Race naar de maan)
CAPTURING THE FRIEDMANS
CARAMEL
CARAVAGGIO
CAREER GIRLS
CARGO
CARGO 200
CARLA'S LIST
CARLA'S SONG
CARLITO'S WAY
CARMEN MEETS BORAT
CARMEN VAN HET NOORDEN
Carnage
Carnival
CARNIVÀLE
Carnotstraat 17
CARO DIARIO
Carol
Carrie
CARRIERS
CARRINGTON
CARS
Cars 2 (NL)
Cars 3
Cartas da guerra (Ivo Ferreira over)
CASA DE LAVA
CASA DE LOS BABYS
CASABLANCA
CASANEGRA
CASANOVA
CASE 39
CASHBACK
CASINO
CASINO ROYALE
CASPER
Casper & Emma
Casper & Emma de bergen in
Casper en Emma op safari
CASSANDRA'S DREAM
Casse-tête chinois
CASSHERN
CAST AWAY
casting a glance
CASTINGX
THE CASTLE
THE CAT IN THE HAT
THE CAT RETURNS
Catch 44
CATCH A FIRE
CATCH ME IF YOU CAN
CATERINA VA IN CITTÀ
CATFISH
CATS & DOGS: DE WRAAK VAN KITTY GALORE
CATWOMAN
CAVALE
Cave of Forgotten Dreams
The cave of the yellow dog (Byambasuren Davaa over)
CECIL B. DEMENTED
CELEBRITY
DE CELESTIJNSE BELOFTE
CELIA
THE CELL
CELL 211
CELLULAR
THE CELLULOID CLOSET
CELOS
THE CEMENT GARDEN
Cemetery of Splendour
LES CENT ET UNE NUITS
CENTER STAGE
CENTRAL DO BRASIL
Central Intelligence
CENTURION
LA CÉRÉMONIE
Certain Women (Previously Unreleased)
CÉSAR ET ROSALIE
Cézanne et moi
CHACUN CHERCHE SON CHAT
CHACUN SON CINÉMA
CHAIN REACTION
CHALET GIRL
CHALK
CHAMANKA
THE CHAMBER
LA CHAMBRE DES OFFICIERS
LA CHAMBRE VERTE
La Chana
CHANDNI CHOWK TO CHINA
The Change-up
CHANGELING
CHANGING LANES
CHAOS
CHAOS
Chapiteau Show
CHAPLIN
Chappie
CHARACHAR
CHARADE
CHARLES CHAPLIN DVD-BOX
CHARLIE AND THE CHOCOLATE FACTORY
CHARLIE ST. CLOUD
CHARLIE WILSON'S WAR
CHARLIE'S ANGELS (2000)
CHARLIE'S ANGELS: FULL THROTTLE
Charlie's Country
CHARLOTTE GRAY
CHARLOTTE'S WEB
THE CHASE
THE CHASER
CHASERS
CHASING AMY
CHASING LIBERTY
Chasing Mavericks
CHASING SLEEP
LA CHASSE AUX PAPILLONS
THE CHATÊAU
CHE PART 1 EN 2
CHE?
CHEAP LUDES
CHEAPER BY THE DOZEN
CHEAPER BY THE DOZEN 2
Cheerful Weather for the Wedding
Chef
LE CHÊNE
Cherchez Hortense
CHÉRI
The Chernobyl Diaries
CHERRY BLOSSOMS — HANAMI
CHERRY FALLS
Les chevaliers blancs
Les chevaux de Dieu
CHEVOLUTION
Chez nous
Chez nous (Lucas Belvaux over)
Chi-Raq
LE CHIAVI DI CASA
CHICAGO
CHICKEN LITTLE
CHICKEN RUN
CHICKIES, BABIES AND WANNABEES
CHIKAMATSU MONOGATARI
Child 44
Child of God
Child's Pose
CHILDREN OF HEAVEN
THE CHILDREN OF HUANG SHI
CHILDREN OF MEN
CHILDREN OF NATURE
CHILL FACTOR
Het Chimpansee Complex
Chimpanzee
CHINA BLUE
CHINA STRIKE FORCE
China's Van Goghs
CHINATOWN
Chinatown (gerestaureerd)
CHINESE BOX
A CHINESE GHOST STORY: THE TSUI HARK ANIMATION
Chips
CHLOE
CHOCOLAT
CHOCOLATE
The Choice
CHOPPER
LES CHORISTES
Chorus
A CHRISTMAS CAROL
Chronic
Chronicle
CHRONICLE OF A DISAPPEARANCE
THE CHRONICLES OF NARNIA — THE LION, THE WITCH AND THE WARDROBE
THE CHRONICLES OF NARNIA: THE VOYAGE OF THE DAWN TREADER
CHRONICLES OF RIDDICK
CHUNGKING EXPRESS
CHUNHYANG
CHUTNEY POPCORN
EL CID, DE LEGENDE
CIDADE BAIXA
CIDADE DE DEUS (CITY OF GOD)
CIDADE DOS HOMENS
THE CIDER HOUSE RULES
Le Ciel Flamand
EL CIELO GIRA
EL CIELO, LA TIERRA Y LA LLUVIA
LA CIÉNAGA
Cigán/The Garden
Cinderella
CINDERELLA MAN
A CINDERELLA STORY
CINÉMA INVISIBLE
CINEMA, ASPIRINES AND VULTURES
La cinquième saison
THE CIRCLE
The Circle
CIRCLE OF FRIENDS
Circumstance
CIRCUS
CIRKELIENTJE
Cirkus Columbia
CIRQUE DU FREAK: THE VAMPIRE'S ASSISTANT
CITIZEN KANE
CITIZEN RUTH
Citizenfour
CITY BY THE SEA
CITY HALL
CITY OF ANGELS
CITY OF EMBER
CITY OF GHOSTS
CITY OF INDUSTRY
CITY OF JOY
THE CITY OF LOST CHILDREN
City of Violence
El ciudadano ilustre
A civil action
THE CLAIM
CLAIRE DOLAN
El Clan
Clash
CLASH OF THE TITANS 3D
CLAUDE CHABROL COLLECTIE
CLAUS, OP HANDEN GEDRAGEN
CLEAN
CLEAN, SHAVEN
CLEAR AND PRESENT DANGER
THE CLEARING
CLERKS II: PASSION OF THE CLERKS
CLICK
THE CLIENT
CLIFFHANGER
Cloaca
CLOCKERS
CLOCKSTOPPERS
Cloclo
CLOSE TO HOME
CLOSER
CLOSING THE RING
Cloud Atlas
Clouds of Sils Maria
CLOVERFIELD
El Club (Pablo Larraín over)
Club Sándwich
De club van Sinterklaas & de pietenschool
De club van Sinterklaas & de verdwenen schoentjes
De club van Sinterklaas & geblaf op de pakjesboot
De club van Sinterklaas & het geheim van de speelgoeddokter
De Club van Sinterklaas & het pratende paard
CLUB ZEUS
CLUELESS
COACH CARTER
COBB
COCKFIGHTER
COCO AVANT CHANEL
COCO CHANEL & IGOR STRAVINSKY
CODE 46
Code Blue
CODE INCONNU
Code M
COFFEE AND CIGARETTES
Cold Breezes
COLD COMFORT FARM
COLD FEVER
The Cold Light of Day
THE COLD LIGHT OF DAY
COLD SOULS
COLLATERAL
Collateral Beauty
COLLATERAL DAMAGE
LE COLLIER PERDU DE LA COLOMBE
Colombiana
COLOR OF NIGHT
COLPO DI LUNA
COMANDANTE
COMBAT SHOCK
Les combattants
A COMÉDIA DE DEUS
COMEDIAN HARMONISTS
Coming Home
Comme un chef
Comme un homme
COMME UNE IMAGE
LA COMMUNE
COMO AGUA PARA CHOCOLATE
THE COMPANY
COMPANY MAN
The Company Men
Company Orheim
The Company You Keep
COMPASSIONATE SEX
Complete Unknown
The Complex
Compostella
Computer Chess
LA COMUNIDAD
CON AIR
Conan The Barbarian 3D
LE CONCERT
THE CONCIERGE
Concussion
CONDUCTING MAHLER
CONFESSION, FROM THE COMMANDER'S DIARY
Le confessioni
CONFESSIONS OF A DANGEROUS MIND
CONFESSIONS OF A SHOPAHOLIC
CONFESSIONS OF A TEENAGE DRAMA QUEEN
CONFIDENCE
CONFIDENCES TROP INTIMES
CONFITUUR
Il conformista (Thuiskijken)
CONGO
CONGORAMA
The Congress
The Conjuring
CONNY & CARLA
La conquête
LE CONSEGUENZE DELL'AMORE
CONSENTING ADULTS
CONSPIRACY THEORIE
The Conspirator
CONSPIRATORS OF PLEASURE
THE CONSTANT GARDENER
CONSTANTINE
CONTACT
Contagion
CONTAINER
CONTE D'AUTOMNE
CONTE D'ÉTÉ
CONTE D'HIVER
UN CONTE DE NOËL
THE CONTENDER
Contraband
CONTRACORRIENTE
CONTRE TOI
CONTROL
LES CONVOYEURS ATTENDENT
COOKIE'S FORTUNE
COOL
COOL & CRAZY
Cool Girls
Cool Girls
COOL RUNNINGS
THE COOLER
COP LAND
COPACABANA
COPIE CONFORME
COPS VS. THUGS (KENKEI TAI SOSHIKI BORYOKU)
COPYCAT
COPYING BEETHOVEN
CORAJE
CORALINE EN DE GEHEIME DEUR
CORDERO DE DIOS (LAMB OF GOD)
THE CORE
Corman's World: Exploits of a Hollywood Rebel
Corn Island
Cornelis
CORPSE BRIDE
THE CORRIDOR
CORRINA, CORRINA
THE CORRUPTOR
Corta
CORTO MALTESE: LA COUR SECRÈTE DES ARCANES
COSAVOGLIODIPIÙ
Cosmopolis
COSTA BRAVA
COSTA!
A COUCH IN NEW YORK
The Counselor
THE COUNT OF MONTE CRISTO
Countdown to Zero
COUNTERPARTS (GEGENÜBER)
THE COUNTRY TEACHER
LE COUPERET
UN COUPLE EPATANT
COUPLES RETREAT
COURAGE UNDER FIRE
COURTING COURTNEY
COUSIN BETTE
THE COVE
COWBOY BEBOP: THE MOVIE
THE COWBOY WAY
Les cowboys
Cowboys & Aliens
COWBOYS IN KOSOVO
CQ
Crab Trap
CRADLE 2 THE GRAVE
THE CRAFT
CRANK
CRASH
CRASH
THE CRAZIES
Crazy (Workshop Filmkritiek)
CRAZY HEART
CRAZY IN ALABAMA
Crazy, Stupid, Love
CRAZY/BEAUTIFUL
CREATION
Creative Control
Creed
CREEP
CREMASTER MARATHON
CREPUSCULE
CRIME D'AMOUR
EL CRIMEN DEL PADRE AMARO
CRIMEN FERPECTO
CRIMES OF THE FUTURE
Criminal
Criminal Activities
CRIMSON GOLD
Crimson Peak
CRIMSON RIVERS 2
CRIMSON TIDE
LA CRISE
CRITICAL DECISION
CROCODILE DUNDEE IN LOS ANGELES
Les croix de bois
CRÓNICA DE UNA FUGA
CRONICAS
CRONOS
The Croods
CROOKLYN
CROSS FATE
THE CROSSING
THE CROSSING GUARD
CROSSING OVER
CROSSING THE BRIDGE: THE SOUND OF ISTANBUL
CROSSROADS
CROUCHING TIGER, HIDDEN DRAGON
THE CROW
THE CROW: CITY OF ANGELS
THE CRUCIBLE
The Crucifixion
CRUEL INTENTIONS
Crulic: The Path to Beyond
CRUMB
CRUSH
THE CRUSH
CRUSH PROOF
LA CRUZ
CRYING FREEMAN
THE CRYING GAME
CUBA FELIZ
Cuban Fury
THE CUP
CURDLED
THE CURE
CURE & PULSE
Cure for Pain
A Cure for Wellness
CURFEW
THE CURIOUS CASE OF BENJAMIN BUTTON
CURSE OF THE GOLDEN FLOWER
THE CURSE OF THE JADE SCORPION
CURSED
EL CUSTODIO
CUTTHROAT ISLAND
THE CUTTING EDGE
CYCLO
CYPHER
CYRUS
The Conjuring 2