The Thursday Film: Oo Vuf Welcome, In Jaaaaaaaam

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In protest at Team GB spending a whole day not bothering to win any gold medals, we’re skipping today’s Olympic update. Oh, okay, we couldn’t be bothered. Instead, what might become a nice idea for a weekly update where we ‘curate’ (post a YouTube link to) a ‘fascinating movie curio’ (a film rare enough for its handlers not to have ordered its removal from YouTube).

Today: JAM FILMS (Japan 2002)

Despite our linkbait blog title, this has absolutely nothing to do with Christopher Morris’ extravaganza of ambient stupid, but rather a collection of delightfully skewed short films from Japan. Co-funded by Sega (yes, that Sega),the Jam Films anthology series took works from a number of different directors and basically gave them free rein to do whatever they liked. Which, given these are Japanese film directors we’re talking about, is pretty much a licence to print bizarre money with the yelping face of King Alan Tractors IV on it.

Here, you’ll find the following tales:

THE MESSENGER: the fate set to befall a mobster holed up in his concrete lair is laid out by a mysterious woman.

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KENDAMA: a ball and string toy gets mixed up with a bag of onions. Oddness ensues.

COLD SLEEP: A man awakes from suspended animation to find himself on a planet containing the wackiest high school in the world! (Of that particular planet.)

PANDORA: A woman with athlete’s foot consults a mysterious and slightly sinister old doctor, and ends up finding the cure in an unusual place.

HIJIKI: Translated as “edible seaweed”, a criminal takes a family hostage as a siege situation develops. But, who is actually the criminal(s) and who is truly the hostage(s)? Aaaah.

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JUSTICE: A bored schoolboy counts the snapping of tight shorts worn by girls jumping hurdles viewed from the classroom window.

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ARITA: A young woman has doodled a character called Arita throughout her life, but has no memory of ever doing so. It seems she is not alone. What IS going on?

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Jam Films was followed up by “Jam Films 2” in 2003 and “Jam Films S” in 2005, both of which were similarly interesting. Quite frankly, we’re surprised Jonathan Ross hasn’t insisted they get an outing on BBC Four, so instead we’ll be thankful that at least one of them is available to view in full on Good Old YouTube.

Fingers crossed that the others will appear at some point, but for now, sit back and enjoy the glorious oddity that is Jam Films.

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