PARTS 2 / 3 / 4 / 5 / 6 / 7 / 8 / 9
"Godspeed You! Black Emperor is typical of the low-budget, street-level productions of the Japanese New Wave of the late 60's and early 70's; shot in high-contrast black and white with obvious cinéma-vérité like influences and a cast of young stars that seem suitably intense and charmingly inexperienced. The approach to the film adds to that rough rock n' roll, proto-punk-type appeal of the production, with the film standing as something of a Japanese precursor to Quadrophenia (1979); depicting the workings of a genuine sub-culture - in this instance, the bōsōzoku biker gangs that came to prominence in the 1950's and evolved throughout the subsequent two decades - and the evocative creation of a grey and hopeless world of flat blocks, suburbs and backstreets where this rambling youth drama plays out. It is also sensitively rendered in regards to the characters - illustrating their hopes, dreams and ambitions - not to mention their various interweaving relationships and the sense that the escape and freedom presented by the thrill of riding a motorcycle through the late night streets of Shinjuku is really as life-affirming as anything else imaginable."