[ Directed by ]
[ Produced by ]
• MOMOYAMA Sakura
• WATANABE Keiko
[ Cast ]
• MITSUSHIMA Hikari KITAGAWA Haru
• NAKAMURA Eriko SAKATA Rico
• NAGAOKA Tasuku SHINOZUKA Ryota
• MITSUISHI Ken SAKATA Shogo
• NEGISHI Toshie SAKATA Keiko
[ Staff ]
• Screenplay: ANDO Momoko
• Original Story: SAKURAZAWA Erika
• Cinematography: ISHII Koichi
• Lighting: SAKURAI Masaaki
• Production Design: KASAMURA Yuji
[ Production Company ]
[ Distributor (Japan) ]
pictures dept. co. ltd.
Release Date: April 3, 2010
Running Time: 107 min
Genre: Drama, Feature
Screening Format: 35mm
Screen Size: American Vista (1:1.85)
Sound Processing: Dolby SR
[ Story ]
A film adaptation of the comic “Love Vibes” by popular manga artist, Sakurazawa Erika, starring Mitsushima Hikari, from the multi-award winning film Love Exposure
(Ai no mukidashi), in the lead. Actor-turned-director Okuda Eiji’s eldest daughter Ando Momoko directs her first piece. The film was released at the same time in Tokyo and the Institute of Contemporary Arts in London, making a simultaneous premiere in Japan and England. College student Haru (Mitsushima) is stuck in an unfulfilling relationship with a boyfriend that’s just not right for her. One day, Rico (Nakamura Eriko), a “medical artist” who makes prosthetic body parts, strikes up a conversation with her. Rico believes that gender has nothing to do with love. The two quickly become intimately involved…
[ Official Site ]
[ Premiere ]
World Premiere: Raindance Film Festival 2009
[ Film Festivals, Awards ]
• Kinotayo-FESTIVAL DU FILM JAPONAIS CONTEMPORAIN 2009 Prix Nikon de la Belle image
• Stockholm International Film Festival Official Entry 2009
• Shinsedai Cinema Festival 2010
• Japanese Film Festival Nippon Connection 2010
Glasgow Film Festival 2010
Based on a manga by the successful author Erika Sakurazawa, the film tells the story of Haru, a university student dissatisfied with her relationship with a boy who betrays her and treats her like an object, from which she is still unable to separate. One day Haru is approached in a bar by Riko, a prosthetist with a strong personality who claims to be attracted by the hesitant student and involves her in a complicated love story.
In the cinema as elsewhere, the issue of female homosexuality has assumed the status of a trendy theme par excellence in recent years: just notice how, sooner or later, all the current divas of cinema end up making statements about their more or less vague attraction for the feminine universe, or bend to the innocuous “transgression” of a kiss scene between women on cinema screens. The risk in these cases is always that the representation of the saucer love to the cinema is reduced to a mirror for the larks that supports only the male erotic imagery, ending up betraying and transfiguring what ultimately should be a purely feminine thing.
For his part, the newcomer Andō Momoko (daughter of the famous actor and director Ōkuda Eiji, known in Italy for her role in the Death of a Kumai Kei tea master) consciously avoids the trap through an accurate and insistent use of the ellipsis . Putting the brakes on any temptation to spectacularize the theme and any erotic convention, the director plays subtraction packaging a small work with an intimist flavor that, despite being unripe in some places (especially in terms of writing, sometimes frayed and undecided on the register by hold), proves able to maintain interest even after having exhausted the basic premises. Likewise, the characters that populate the film are more believable than they may seem at first: if in fact, initially, the acting of Matsushima Hikari in the role of the protagonist Haru seems to indulge too much towards the archetype of the kawaii girl (so pretty and as innocent as clumsy and careless), in the course of the film actress and director they manage to give the character unexpected nuances, increasing the depth and making it, depending on the situations, fragile, selfish, frustrated and even cruel.
Kakera has the merit of not betraying in the dramatization the idea of attraction that Riko clearly reiterates during the film (that is that he does not love a sex, but a person), and his author visually explicates the concept skillfully underlining the parallels between the relationship insecure Haru “suffered” with her ex (an insensitive and egocentric boy) and that which she is establishing with the determined and possessive Riko: emblematic in this sense the double scene of the small Haru that runs a bridge distance from both partners (according to an ancient but not completely overcome Japanese conjugal practice). What emerges in the end, rather than a glimpse of a relationship (and a homosexual relationship in particular), is the portrait of an unhappy and inscrutable girl who tries hard to carve out her own space within love stories that she ends up suffering more for dependence and insecurity than for one’s own will. Overall, beyond a couple of style falls (primarily the bottle that turns into a dove), an interesting debut. Music by James Iha, former guitarist for Smashing Pumpkins.