This is a bit of a Tokyo Record Style first.

I met up with Hiroto outside of Rare Records in Kichijoji last Sunday. The day before had been “Record Day” in Japan, neither to be confused with “Record Store Day” (which is celebrated worldwide) nor “Tokyo Record Style Day” (which is my own little concoction). Maybe I can only say this as a Damn Yankee but “Record Day” is to Boxing Day what “Record Store Day” is to Christmas, a sorta slightly obscure 2nd reason to celebrate. In actuality, I think “Record Day” is basically Japan’s own “Record Store Day” when a whole slew of Japanese albums and pressings are released. Anyway, why I am talking about this? Oh yeah, because one of the re-releases that day was Happy End’s seminal classic “Kazemachi Roman” which Hiroto scored but was without, having picked it up the day before. It was a funny coincidence cuz my dear pal, bemsha had also picked it up and sent me a text telling me as much. Hiroto also told me that he not only scored Oasis’s 25th Anniversary Zoetrope version of The Masterplan but that he also plans to hit the upcoming live reunion shows in the UK! Wait… has that been confirmed yet?

I don’t want to spend even one second talking about 80’s boy band “The Checkers” that Hiroto scored for a friend who is a diehard fan, because I want rather to talk about his jumper that featured a sorta Trainspotting/Dirty Harry character that looked very intriguing. “Who’s on your sweater?” I asked. “It’s from that famous French movie, from the 90’s, “La Haine,” – don’t you know it? “No… I don’t” “It’s really good” Hiroto explained. “Boy, it looks it. I wanna see that.” And after a week passed, I finally did, and OH. MY. GOD!

La Haine is hands-down one of the best movies I have ever seen in all my life. It’s the story of 3 French youth, living on the edges of society in Paris during a time of social unrest, shortly after Rodney King and the L.A. Riots. It depicts the immigrant experience, life in Paris’s under-served project neighborhood, and police brutality that many of the youth faced. It is BEAUTIFULLY shot, amazing visual story-telling, and in glorious black and white. The Cinematography pulls so many tricks that it’s practically the 4th protagonist in the film. The acting is fucking incredible, and the characters are so interesting and evocative, and their stories, while not exactly relatable, seem very honest, and their performances make them worthy of your empathy. And the story itself had me on the very edge of my seat up until the very last millisecond of the movie. I still cannot believe what I saw. That movie is a masterpiece! If it hasn’t already (and I’m sure I am just the last person to know about this) it will go down as one of the most riveting and sublime movies of the (last) century. As good as or better than Warriors, or Do the Right Thing. Thank god, well thank Hiroto actually, that I didn’t go through life without seeing that one.

Hats off to director Mathieu Kassovitz (who I just read won Best Director for it at Cannes in ‘95) and to actors, Vincent Cassel, Hubert Koundé and Saïd Taghmaoui. Your work is seared on my brain forever.

The Checkers – My-Nichi!! Checkers 毎日!!チェッカーズ
Label: Canyon – C28A0428
Format: Vinyl, LP, Album
Country: Japan
Released: Aug 21, 1985
Genre: Rock, Pop
Style: Doo Wop, Pop Rock

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