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Battle Royale

The much-culted 2000 Japanese film about a juvenile killing contest opens here

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Sometime in the near screwed-up future, a class of Japanese ninth-graders is dumped on an isolated island, and given three days to kill each other, until there is one "winner." Kinji Fukasaku's 2000 film (a mash-up of dystopian horror, dark comedy and romance) never received an official U.S. theatrical release, but now you can see it on the big screen instead of a bootlegged Internet version. Perhaps another decade of real-life and on-screen violence has dulled my sensibilities, but I didn't find this as shocking as promised. For all the bloodletting (actually, fairly minimal), Battle has a melancholy fairy-tale vibe rather than an exploitive celebratory one. The plot does have some overlap with the current mega-hit The Hunger Games, if you're looking for a lively post-screening discussion. In Japanese, with subtitles. Fri., April 20, through Tue., April 24. Melwood (Al Hoff)

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