DIRECTED BY: Unknown
PLOT: Six bouncy naked men (whose genitals are tasteful disguised by fig
leaves) experience love and loss in modern Japan, eventually achieving artistic and financial success through music.
WHAT MAKES IT WEIRD: やった is a hallucinogenic barrage of bizarre imagery. A peppy musical score contrasts ironically with the magical mystery tour taken by the six naked men, whose travels through impossible landscapes consisting of fields of ostriches and giant sushi platters are shown in brief, almost subliminal flashbacks. The six scantily clad principals appear delusional, and its is possible that the director intended this short film to be an expressionist depiction of a state of paranoid schizophrenia and multiple personality disorder, with each member representing a separate Jungian archetype.
On the surface the やった seems to be nothing more than shock cinema, weirdness for weirdness’ sake. Closer examination will reveal it to be one of the saddest stories ever told, an entire universe of bereavement and nihilism encased in a devilishly hummable 4 minute disco montage. The scene where a fig leaf wearing man brushes past a beautiful woman on a busy Tokyo street, looks back wistfully as she passes, and is immediately consoled by his five naked brothers (who magically emerge from a nearby alley), is perhaps the most melancholy romantic scene put to film since Bernstein told his tale of the girl with the white parasol in Citizen Kane.
Some have claimed that this short film is actually a satirical skit by a comedy troupe meant to poke fun at Japan’s eternal optimism in the face of economic and political woes. Such reductionist interpretations miss the larger point, however. やった tells a tale of the existential struggle to survive, forge an identity, and promote a boy band made up of naked middle aged men in an uncaring, absurd universe. In a shot that seems almost to be a throwaway sequence, but actually is the key to interpreting やった’s deeper meaning, a fig life springs to life from the crotch of one of the singers and rises in the air, finally transforming into the word “hope.” American directors would do well to take heed of their Japanese counterparts willingness to express such deep emotional truths without the fear of looking silly.
WHAT THE CRITICS SAY:
“Irrational Exuberance gains its genius from the fact that it effectively translates the concepts in Yatta! to an American audience, who wouldn’t get the Snore! Snore! Pass! Pass! part, but can appreciate the way that commercialism dumbs down their society. Hey, as long as we’re happy, who cares if we’re dancing in our skivvies?”–Sekicho, Everything2.com