[ Directed by ]
[ Cast ]
• MOMOTA Kanako TAKAHASHI Saori
• TAMAI Shiori HASHIZUME Yuko
• TAKAGI Reni SAIJO Miki
• ARIYASU Momoka NAKANISHI Etsuko
• SASAKI Ayaka KATO Akemi
• KUROKI Haru Ms. YOSHIOKA
[ Staff ]
• Original Story: HIRATA Oriza
• Screenplay: KIYASU Kohei
• Music: KANNO Yugo
• Theme Song: Momoiro Clover Z
[ Production Company ]
Fuji Television Network, TOEI, ROBOT, DENTSU, KODANSHA, PARCO
[ Distributor (Japan) ]
[ Production Studio ]
Release Date: February 28, 2015
Running Time: 119 min
Genre: Drama, Feature
Screening Format: DCP
Screening Format with Subtitles
[ Story ]
An adaptation of Hirata Oriza’s play by “Bayside Shakedown” series director Motohiro Katsuyuki. The members of idol group Momoiro Clover Z star as high school students who grow through their involvement in a lowly drama club. Among their co-stars is Kuroki Haru, who won a Silver Bear for Best Actress at the Berlin International Film Festival in 2014 for her performance in The Little House.
Fujigaoka High School’s drama club has never made it past the preliminaries in regional competitions. Under the tutelage of Ms. Yoshioka (Kuroki), known as “the queen of school theater,” the determined Saori (Momota Kanako) and her fellow clubmates band together in the hope of making the national championship.
[ Official Site ]
In a provincial high school, a group of female students enroll in the school theater club but their performance and the guidance of the responsible teacher leave a lot to be desired. Things start to change when a new teacher (Kuroki Haru) arrives who at the time of the university was acting in Tokyo. Slowly, the new teacher instills in the girls the courage to try to try their hand, in theater as in life. One of them, in particular, Saori (Momota Kanako), will find the energy to commit herself as a director and guide her companions even when they will have to face the competition with the theater companies of the best high schools in the country.
In Japan, the genre seishun eiga (literally, film about youth) is a phenomenon that does not have a correspondent in the West. There are films about young people all over the world but the Japanese peculiarity is to focus these films on the high school years, seen as a particular moment of life that for many will not be repeated with such intensity and sentiment. The genus is so felt and widespread that there are even various subgenres. One of the widest is unfortunately the one focused on the sad and introverted male high school students who do not dare to declare themselves to their beloved or female high school girls who dot for bellies with a styling that not even the glam-rock stars had.
Fortunately, there is not only trash and another very common trend is that which tells about the students’ extracurricular activities. Unlike in Italy, where these groups do not exist or are impromptu phenomena due to the good will of some teacher or group of boys more active than the average, in Japan they are a very serious thing, with lots of competitions composed of local and regional eliminations until to arrive at the great national final, an emotion that those who participate will take their whole life. There are dozens of films that tell the most varied activities, sometimes doing more cheerfully, sometimes with more heartfelt tone. Reboating examples are Waterboys, 2001 (male synchronized swimming) or Swing girls, 2004 (a female rock group), but also Koi wa go, shichi, go (Love is Five, Seven, Five, 2005) dedicated to the haiku competitions, and Kirishima, bukatsu yamerutteyo (The Kirishima Thing, 2012), which casts a sweet and sensitive look at cinema making on a minimal level, are interesting examples.
Curtain rises is dedicated to the student theater (illustrious predecessor Sakura no sono, The Cherry Orchard, 1990, just to mention one) and, although not involving or particularly profound, deserves to be mentioned for how it is focused, rather than on the acting component, especially on directing, intended as a way of learning to conceive a project, to write it, to direct it. At the same time, and this is a fixed Japanese theme but still has a value to consider, the direction, although there is a “leader”, is understood as a collective act: you can not do theater (cinema) alone. In the case of the film and high school students who animate it, theater and acting become an opportunity to talk with each other, to get out of their fears and introversions.
The film is unfortunately not entirely free from the prevailing fashion of having recites divisions and divisions belonging to musical groups on the crest of the wave. The protagonists, in fact, belong to the group of aidoru Momoiro Clover Z, but it must be said for honesty that despite this limit do not play quite haphazardly. In general, it is the care of the characters and details that is slightly above average. The only true actress, Kuroki Haru, twenty-six year-old already award-winning (best actress at the 2014 Berlin Film Festival for Chiisai ouchi, The Little House, 2014 by Yamada Yōji, to name one) stands out, despite her defiled role. Placid face reminds a bit of the Tanaka Kinuyo of the early days. On the other hand, the director, Motohiro Katsuyuki, although not an “author”, knows the trade. His are, for example, the successful series Odoru daisōsasen (Bayside Shakedown, 1998-2012) or the blockbuster Koshōnin Mashita Masayoshi (Negotiator: Mashita Masayoshi, 2005). In this case it seems to have taken a break from the megaproductions of action to carve out a moment, if not of reflection, of sensibility and sobriety.