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The Kamikaze of Fort Greene Park (2018)

Two ghosts drive together through New York City at night. One ghost is that of Walt Whitman (Dan Berkey), famous American poet, and the other is of a Japanese kamikaze pilot (Takumi Mitobe). The two struggle to understand one another, but they do their best to recount experiences from their lives. The pilot discusses the horrific things that occurred during his time in the military, and Whitman recites lines from his famous poem “Beat! Beat! Drums!” The conflicting points of view allow viewers to deep dive into the human psyche, and The Kamikaze of Fort Greene Park expresses the truth about our future.

The pairing of a Japanese kamikaze pilot and Walt Whitman is almost laughable, and the two seem to have no reason to be sitting in a car with one another–let alone as ghosts. Furthermore, on paper it would appear as if Whitman might be the quote-on-quote good guy, and the kamikaze pilot the bad guy. This is NOT the case! In a complete twist, The Kamikaze of Fort Greene Park paints the expected villain in a very welcoming and empathizing light. This alone is enough to express to viewers not to judge a book by its cover. It’s the old adage that everyone has heard before, but it’s one that people still struggle to follow–and The Kamikaze of Fort Greene Park does its best to express this sentiment.

3D movies began back in the 1920’s, and they’ve slowly made progress–becoming more and more effective since their inception. Beginning with a stereoscope, the way in which we view three-dimensional films has changed drastically since the beginning. At one point we used glasses with red and blue lenses to allow the things on screen to appear multidimensional. While that practice is a bit outdated, the mere fact that it works is impressive, and in 2018 Writer-Director Chris Benker employs this technique once again, and viewers use those red and blue glasses to watch and become immersed in The Kamikaze of Fort Greene Park. This is a throwback, a way in which Benker plays heavily on nostalgia. As a matter of fact I had to grab the 3D glasses from my Shrek 3D dvd–and this little tidbit, that only changes the aesthetic and nothing else, is enough to interest viewers. Again, while this aspect of the film is technically unnecessary, The Kamikaze of Fort Greene Park is provided additional dimension (literal and figurative) as a result.

The entirety of The Kamikaze of Fort Greene Park is intended to make viewers think. As previously mentioned, there are multiple layers present in The Kamikaze of Fort Greene Park, and viewers are tasked with traversing those many layers and attempting to find the true meaning behind all that transpires. This journey through New York is unique and sometimes difficult to understand, and Benker’s film really makes those viewers think. There are many things to be learned throughout the course of the film, and depending on who you are, The Kamikaze of Fort Greene Park may provide each individual person with a unique experience.

Cinematically, The Kamikaze of Fort Greene Park is one of the most unique films that I’ve ever seen. I’ve said this many times before, and, yet, The Kamikaze of Fort Greene Park still manages to find a niche corner of the cinema world. The three-dimensional aspect of the film is enough to have it stand apart from the majority of other films, but the poetic nature of what Benker creates adds to its uniqueness. The juxtaposition of world views, the literal inclusion of one of Whitman’s poetic works, and an incredibly artsy look at the ever-changing world immerse viewers in something accessible and entertaining for everyone.

Once again, The Kamikaze of Fort Greene Park is a one-of-a-kind attempt at viewing the world through many lenses. It appeals to nostalgia and it finds ways to nestle itself and its many meanings in the hearts of all that are watching. This film is both beautiful and terrifying, and it’s a strange but effective way of expressing the ways of the world.

Written & Directed by Chris Benker.

Starring Takumi Mitobe, Dan Berkey, Ai Kiyono, Sabz Dino, etc.




Denis M. Kitchen
Denis M. Kitchen

The fractured 3D image (sans glasses) is a compelling metaphor for the obscured meaning in art, and the chaos an artist reintroduces into their work to force us to function as lenses to re-construct or own phenomenological order. Humble circus colored lenses resting atop the most complex and ordered device known in the universe only enhances this realization for me.

Kyle Bain
Kyle Bain

Thank you so much for your comment. I fully understand your stance, and I don't disagree. I have to admit that I was very excited to be able to use those red and blue 3D glasses again, and had I not used them this aspect of the film would have likely been more apparent.

Thank you again for reaching out, and thank you for taking the time to visit my site!

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