I know…you read that title and the first thing that comes to mind is, “I don’t want to hear about a love story involving any kind of foreign robot/sharp object/power tool.” No worries, the first “word” of the title isn’t really a word from anywhere. It’s the name of the love interest of the film’s first story of three, and then concludes by revisiting the characters from that same first story thirty years later. None of the stories really intercede upon one another (especially not the film’s bookend story in relation to the middle two if not for the brief appearance of a cat) and in that sense Milocrorze: A Love Story may be one of the most uniquely structured and entertaining anthology pictures to come out in quite some time.
The first of the three love stories focuses on a young, orange bowl cut haired boy named Ovreneli Vreneligare (pronounce it just like that) who leads a very simple, uneventful life where the highlight of his week is taking a trip to the park and drinking yogurt. On one such trip he meets a beautiful woman named Milocrorze (pronounce it just like that) sitting serenely on the bench. Despite the considerably large age gap and the boy being not even of legal age to ride big boy rollercoasters the two fall in love and Ovreneli works tirelessly — as eight year olds should be doing — to provide and support for their future.
The events of this love story kick things off in a very quirky manner that opened up the possibility that just about anything could happen in the film. The setup, art direction and color palette for this first story felt similar to the short-lived TV series Pushing Daisies. There are a lot of bright colors, neat and tidy set designs and most every story piece moves with the accompaniment of narration. Right out of the gate, though odd, you get a sense that you’re probably going to be in on some fun.
And then the real fun begins with the next story of brash youth counselor Besson Kumagai played by 13 Assassins actor Takayuki Yamada.
Kumagai is what one might call…an asshole, but in this film there’s probably some better, made-up word for it. He’s rude to all of the shy young boys looking for love, gives them all [mostly] bad advice –though if any female would like to admit that having a suitor confidently tweak her nipples as soon as she opens the door actually works then please speak up in the comment section for the sake of humanity–and he’s pretty much a womanizer. He’s like a more comically bitter version of Tom Cruise’s character from Magnolia.
If you fail to find the above entertaining, it’s because that doesn’t sound entertaining. What is entertaining, an undeniably so, about Kumagai is how after each phone encounter of giving passive kids love advice is the fantasy dance sequences in celebratory fashion that ensue right after Kumagai is finished with the call, as if to pat himself on the back for job well done. Once you get the gist of what his character is and how this story will play out the dance numbers get increasingly more epically absurd…and hilarious.
Following this sequence is the story of a traveling, one-eyed samurai (also played by Yamada) on a quest to find his fiancee who was captured by bandits almost four years before the time we’re introduced to him. Tonally, this story is much less playful (though not void of humor) and more serious in the spirit of classic samurai revenge films, and if not for an incredibly over-indulgent slow-mo sword fight that overstays its welcome (imagine if Zack Snyder wanted to film a marathon) this story, and the film as a whole, would be near pitch-perfect.
Milocrorze then concludes with the life of Ovreneli Vreneligare thirty years after the events of what transpired in the movie’s first sequence, with Takayuki Yamada again playing the lead and again playing a character that is in no way similar to either the rude youth counselor or vengeful samurai. While this final story pales in entertainment value to the film’s middle two stories it’s an agreeable and light-hearted conclusion to an overall exciting, whimsical and unique film experience; with one of the most impressive showcases of acting range from Yamada at the movie’s heart that you’re likely to see.