Nov 16, 2023
NEW TO UK FILM REVIEW
Critics Chris Olson and Brian Penn host UK Film Club - a new film podcast covering all film types. From blockbusters to old favourites and even indie & shorts.
“I feel your beat, you feel my rhythm, till the end.”
Discoteque, the latest offering from animated short-film creator Masashi Yamamoto, tells the surreal but unique and highly imaginative story of a couple exploring the dizzying heights of love, passion and unbridled intimacy in the world of disco.
Discoteque is, before and above anything else, a piece of art. Now, that’s not necessarily to say the film will be to everyone’s taste, art can always be subjective and flawed and there are some moments where, despite the tagline, the film in fact does have some slight issues keeping its rhythm steady until the end. But in terms of sheer presentation, a work of pure artistic expression is assuredly what it is. And after now having had a quick look at the brief but adept back catalogue of their other animated shorts, it's clear to see that Yamamoto is in an artist with an intriguing talent for animation and a truly distinct voice for storytelling.
Using, as with their other works, stop motion animation as their artistic medium (and with a clear knack for it too I might add), Discoteque is probably Yamamoto’s most visually compelling work yet. The animation is brilliantly clean, precise, striking, imaginative and all other kinds of well-deserved superlatives. But what it achieves more for this particular film rather than simply just creating a feast for the eyes, is how this dreamlike blend of images, colours and abstract metaphors (some subtle and some definitely less so) manages to truly augment this overlying theme of love, connection and raw intimacy that runs throughout the film. In fact, if one were to remove any narration or indeed all sound from it, Discoteque would almost certainly still be able to land narratively as well as it does.
While much of Yamamoto’s previous works such as When You Touch Me and Our Future undoubtedly also explore more mature themes of a sexual nature, Discoteque seems like an effort to push those types of boundaries even further with its more explicit nature, and it is always great to witness a creator's clear and uncompromised vision be realised as much as it is here. The film does suffer slightly from maybe overreaching in this regard however, the moments where the more explicit disco-orientated segments (which are provocative yes and which is almost certainly the intention) suddenly interject and feel somewhat out of step with the rest, meaning the film does actually lose a bit of its rhythm in these moments. But Yamamoto is telling the stories they want to tell, how they want to tell them, and that kind of unwavering sense of pure self-expression can only be applauded.
It may get lost in itself at points, but Discoteque is well-crafted, wonderful-looking film about love, made with love.