Bus (1987)


Bus (Pasu)

Japan. 1987.


Director/Screenplay – Takashi Komatsu, Producer – Yutaka Suzuki, Photography (colour/some scenes b&w) – Yoshihisa Fujii, Music – Kiyoshi Takagi, Production Design – Takeo Kasai.


Hiroyasu Ito (Micho/The Bengal Tiger), Toru Usuda (The Teacher), Kyoichi Ando (Rinzo), C.W. Nicole (Fool on a Hill), Hidehiko Komatsu (Kosaku), Tomoko Kuroiwa (Kaori)


In The Village, life is rigidly enforced by the super-computer Mama and its five codes of strict conformity. Micho, known as the Bengal Tiger, is one of the criminals called Code Breakers who live in the anarchic Outer Lands. Micho is then captured and made to undergo a ‘robotomy’ – surgery to wipe his memory – and turned into a docile bus driver. When Mama introduces the Golden Slumber, an opportunity to gain even greater control, Micho learns his job will become obsolete and plans to conduct one last act of defiance.

There is nothing new to Bus, nothing that Jean-Luc Godard didn’t say in Alphaville (1965) – in fact, the super-computer Mama is a virtual direct steal from Alpha 60 in Alphaville.

Not to say that Bus is not unlikable. It is an odd little film – the photography has a peculiar eloquence and there is an obscure comic-book zest and a zany sense of humour trying to escape out of the script. Although this gets lost somewhat in Takashi Komatsu’s slapdash direction. However, the results eventually add up to an, at times, strangely congenial film.

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