Takashi Miike's FIRST LOVE was the first film I saw at the 2019 Milwaukee Film Festival and it could not have been a wilder time. Miike is known in the west mostly for the wild "Ichi The Killer" and FIRST LOVE is no different, its pure insanity from start to finish. The movie centers on the Japanese Yakuza and one member, Kase (Shôta Sometani) who double crosses the gang to steal a drug shipment for himself with the aid of a crooked cop.
The duo schemes to blame a drug addicted prostitue named Monica who sees the ghost of her father on stealing the shipment and use her as a scape goat. A boxer named Leo (Masataka Kubota) is diagnosed with a non operational brain tumor and is told he doesn't have much time left. Leo runs into Monica (Sakurako Konishi) as she is fleeing from the crooked cop after he kidnapped her. From there, the pair outwit and outrun the Japanese Yakuza, the Chinese Mafia and the crooked cop who all want Monica dead. It's a wild film and great pick for the festival's Cinema Hooligante program. Miike is known for his wild, over the top style and FIRST LOVE really shines as a perfect example.
The one thing I kept thinking through the screening is the similarity to Tarantino. It was like a Tarantino directed Yakuza film, just wild over the top antics. FIRST LOVE premiered at TIFF last month to rave reviews and also screened at Fantastic Fest so it was a real treat Milwaukee Film was able to score 2 screenings for this year's fest.
You can check out a screening of FIRST LOVE on October 24th at the historic Oriental Theater and if you are in the mood for a wild ride, I highly reccomend it.
Score tickets for the screening here: https://mkefilm.org/events/mff2019/first-love-(hatsukoi)