Legend of the Stardust Brothers (1985)

1985. Japan. Macoto Tezka (son of “The God of Manga” Osamu Tezuka) meets musician Haruo Chicada, who has already made a soundtrack to a movie that does not exist. Inspired by The Rocky Horror Picture Show and Phantom of the Paradise, along with the chance to work with some of Japan’s hottest bands, Tezka and Chicada would join up with a creative team that also included Lupin the 3rd creator Monkey Punch and directors Kiyoshi Kurosawa and Daihachi Yoshida.

They harnessed lighting and put it in a bottle that was lost at sea, as nobody really spoke of this movie for around thirty years, both in Japan and here in America.

We were missing out.

Punk rock rebel Kan and new-wave crooner Shingo are already broken up when we met them, former members of The Stardust Brothers, the greatest band of all time. What came between them? A girl? Their manager? Or are they making their lyrics the sad truth to their real lives? “Once you reach No. 1, you just go down.”

Look, any movie that has a cameo by UWF founder Akira Maeda and is dedicated to the memory of Winslow Leach is going to be a film that I’m going to proclaim to the heavens.

As is often the case with the movies that I love, the press savaged this movie. Tezka told Japan Times, “People are watching it with fresh eyes now, and I’ve had lots of positive comments. But I wonder about how I could have taken those ideas further, and all the films I might have made, if people had responded like that at the time.”

This is a movie in love with film, with music, with being young and being incredibly strange. Idol culture is fascinating and never more so when it is shown in this movie, which I urge you — yes, you reading this! — to watch right now. After all, this is “a movie that has traveled light years to find you.”

There was a 2016 sequel to this — Hoshikuzu Kyôdai no Aratana Densetsu — that I have to now track down. As for this film, it’s available to buy on Vimeo.

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