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Tell Me About Yourself: On Kiyoshi Kurosawa’s “Cure”

You say: I am not free. But I have lifted my hand and let it fall. Everyone understands that this illogical reply is an irrefutable demonstration of freedom. — Leo Tolstoy IN CURE, oracular depiction of how we repress our natural inclination for violence, free will is just a chimera. It is a pretty apparition, beckoning with its spurious promise of comfort and control in a chaotic world, and violence is an ineradicable impulse; no matter how hard we try to suppress it, to ignore it, to dominate and control what is an intrinsic part of our ancient nature, the urge to inflict pain and destroy life frees itself from our moral constructs with just a simple suggestion. Violence can be sparked as simply as a lighter. Cure came out in 1997, at the advent of what would be called J-horror, and Kurosawa was, along with Hideo Nakata ( Ringu, adapted from Koji Suzuki's ), Takashi Shimizu ( Ju-On ), and the gleefully gruesome Takashi Miike ( Audition ), a liaison for Japanese horror to the West. Ringu and Ju-on are the spiritual progeny of classic Japanese ghost stories and cultural lore, tales of lingering spirits skulking in the eaves. Kurosawa's sustained exercise in existential dread has no whey-faced girls with inky tendrils of hair climbing out of televisions or crawling downstairs, none of that graphic butchering of the human body that Miike relishes. It is subtler, quieter, modern yet eternal, whereas the […]

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