Visitor Q begins with a subtitle: “Have you ever laid with your father?”. Kiyoshi, pater familias of the Yamazakis, among mirrors and pop lights, shoots the incest with his daughter, Miki; in the first place an embarrassed petting, then, giving up any hesitation, they slide towards the lowest instincts: cunnilingus, fellatio, and eventually the full, savage and furious sexual intercourse. In the end, the father is mocked by the girl as a “premature cock”, unable to satisfy her and therefore forced to pay the service at a higher price.
The first minutes of the movie head the audience’s look towards the destruction of an already slowly decomposing family balance, that is supposed to completely collapse. In the following chapter, titled “Have you ever beaten your mother?”, we are headed in the sick relationship mother-son, closer to the one victim-persecutor, where mom Yamazaki is brutally and without reason beaten by her son. Like in a vertigo, the no-return point is reached: Miike opens the curtain and reveals the vilenesses and the abuses suffered by the family members in their everyday’s life, coming from a cruel and brutal society.
Visitor Q may be seen as an attempt by the Japanese author to reconstruct, maintain and defend the nuclear family, aim of a Japanese tendency which is interested in subverting the architecture of this elementary institution, made clear in Ishii Sogo’s Crazy Family (1984). Like in Pasolini’s Teorema, we have here an external element coming to overturn the existing rules. But, while in Pasolini’s movie the charming host, performed by Terence Stamp, triggers an unstoppable path leading from family union to individuality, Miike’s visitor, with a violent shock therapy, similar to the reciprocal brutality acted by the family members, tries to rebuild the broken situation.
The middle-class family portrayed by Pasolini, coming across the external element, is trapped in a whirlwind of passions: then love instincts make the single components – people chained in convictions and conventions – free, making them aware of their inner void. Gilles Deleuze wrote in Cinema 1: The Movement-Image: “The emissary from outside is the point from where each family member feels an event or affection as determinant, that constitutes a case of the issue”; the consequent realization creates sorrow and desperation, but it also represents a path towards freedom. Paolo (the father in Teorema) talks to the host before him leaving: “You have come here to destroy. The destruction you have provoked in me could not be more complete. You have simply destroyed the image I have ever had of myself”. In Miike’s movie the message evolves: “One needs to destroy in order to rebuild”; the concept of demolition is the basis of the narration in both movies, but while in the first it brings to the recovery of Self, in favour of a subjective individuality, in the second it becomes the reconstruction of the nuclear family, even though the union is strengthened by shallowness and depravation.
Incest, drug addiction, necrophilia, prostitution, voyeurism: they are just some of the impieties which belong to the Japanese family – social cell – described by Miike; with an anarchic style and an authentic sincerity, the director portraits the perversions and the domestic-collective putrescence, but he just shows, according to his directing and aesthetic standards, and with his usual irreverent sarcasm, the true human nature, describing a shamefully enlightening reality.
Written by Mariangela Sansone
Translation from italian by Fabio Tasso
Reference section: English/Français
Articolo in versione italiana: Visitor Q - Autopsia della famiglia