'Milocrorze: A Love Story' Review: Best Picture-Winning, Visually Stunning Anthology With Musical Numbers, Fantasy Characters And Samurai [Fantastic Fest 2011]

Certain movies undeniably pop off the screen. Movies such as Amelie, Scott Pilgrim vs. The World, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Waking Life and What Dreams May Come each have a visual style that is colorful, stylized and a treat for your senses. Milocrorze: A Love Story, winner of Best Fantastic Feature at Fantastic Fest 2011, is one of those movies. It's a three-part Japanese anthology film directed by Yoshimasa Ishibashi and starring Takayuki Yamada (13 Assassins) in each part. There are very minor through lines between the segments, but the major connective idea is that each shows a different viewpoint on love. All three are visual and emotional delights.

The first segment of the film is about a young red-haired boy with pink pants and green shirt named Ovreneli Vreneligare which, in Japanese, rhymes. So as the female narrator tells us the story of how he falls for the gorgeous Milocrorze, it's extremely pleasing in a number of ways, especially because of the bright, beautiful production design. For the second segment, we focus on the life of Besson Kumagai, a youth counselor who thinks he can solve the love problems of any young man. His advice is crass, out of left field and always ends in a massive musical dance number. Finally the spotlight turns to  Tamon, a businessman-turned-samurai on the search for the kidnapped love of his life. He finds her in the most insanely extravagant brothel imaginable.

To the film's detriment, each of these segments gets increasingly longer and the third part is by far the weakest, giving Milocrorze an slightly uneven feel. Part of the reason the third segment feels so different is it contains a 5-minute plus take that mixing speed-ramps and slow-mo as Tamon burys his samurai sword in dozens and dozens of people. It doesn't quite fit in a story of love but it's still pretty damn cool.

From top to bottom, in fact, the whole movie is pretty damn cool. There entire production is never less than beautiful, and though the pacing weakens and the through line is thin, Milocrorze: A Love Story is fantastic, a worthy award-winner that you should seek out.

/Film rating: 8 out of 10