[ Directed by ]
[ Produced by ]
• MATSUDA Hiroko
• OSHIDA Kosuke
• NISHIKAWA Akiko
• FUJIKADO Hiroyuki
• YOSHIDA Kayo
[ Cast ]
• MATSU Takako ICHIZAWA Satoko
• ABE Sadawo ICHIZAWA Kanya
• TANAKA Rena TANAHASHI Satsuki
[ Staff ]
• Planning: SASAKI Shiro
• Cinematography: YANAGIJIMA Katsumi
• Lighting: SUZUKI Kosuke
• Sound Recording: SHIRATORI Mitsugu
• Production Design: MITSUMATSU Keiko
[ Production Company ]
“Dreams for Sale” Film Partners
[ Distributor (Japan) ]
Asmik Ace Entertainment
[ Production Studio ]
Release Date: September 8, 2012
Running Time: 137 min
Genre: Drama, Feature
Screening Format: 35mm
Screen Size: American Vista (1:1.85)
Sound Processing: Dolby Digital
[ Story ]
An richly evocative drama about a couple who lose everything in a fire and attempt to make a fresh start by swindling others. Its director is Nishikawa Miwa, whose SWAY and Dear Doctor were screened at numerous film festivals around the world.
Married couple Satoko (Matsu Takako) and Kanya (Abe Sadawo) run a small eatery in a corner of Tokyo, but on the 5th anniversary of its opening, a fire starts in the kitchen and burns the place to a cinder. In desperate need of cash, Satoko and Kanya embark on a marriage scam in an attempt to put their lives back on track.
[ Official Site ]
[ Premiere ]
World Premiere: 2012 Toronto International Film Festival, Special Presentation
[ Film Festivals, Awards ]
• 2012 Vancouver International Film Festival, the Dragons & Tigers series
• 2012 Chicago International Film Festival, World Cinema
• 2012 BFI London Film Festival, Journey
The human soul is not exactly a “good world”.
Satoko and her husband Kanya lead a seemingly happy life, until the moment when their restaurant, by accident is destroyed by fire. While the woman tries to cope with the economic loss by finding a new job as a cook in a small room, the husband lets go, he exceeds with alcohol and one night he was drunk and cheating on his wife with a woman who he met on the subway. To try to recover a minimum of economic strength, with the illusion of being able to start a new life, the two decide to develop a system to cheat single women, who are deceived by Kanya with the prospect of an impossible marriage and induced in this way to lend him huge sums of money.
Nishikawa Miwa, whose debut feature film Wild Berries of 2003 was produced by Koreeda Hirokazu, she worked as an assistant director, proposes in this fourth work an articulated investigation on the conflicts of the human soul, on tensions, even destructive, which can nest in a couple of relationship on the emotions and reactions that a sudden event can trigger. The relationship between the two spouses, which initially appears stable and consolidated, crumbles little by little before the eyes of the spectator, piqued by a growing sense of revenge (by Satoko, towards the traitorous husband), by an evident obsessive attitude (always of the woman, towards her, more than her husband, of what he represents, that is to say the stability of a matrimonial structure), of an equally clear cynicism. Modern society with its creed that exalts money and affirmation, produces the annihilated and poisoned “monsters” of loneliness that Kanya, but above all his wife, embody to perfection.
The character of Satoko (played by a good Matsu Takako, also known for his role in Confessions, 2010 film by Nakashima Tetsuya), behind a resigned and gentle air, hides all the features of a convincing femme fatale: cynical and destructive towards the husband and the poor that he attacks and circulates. In one of the film’s most evocative images, the woman bends down to get something under the counter of the restaurant where she works and is “face-to-face” with a huge rat coming out of the dark. That seems to represent precisely that sordid and hidden conscience, all the ugly and evil of his tormented soul.
Directed at times a bit ‘”loaded”: during the sequence, even before the headlines, the fire, there is a lot of insults on the faces of shocked expressions of the two protagonists, even with slow motion and music in the background, perhaps all the way also a bit ‘too much. As well as, subsequently, to underline the “descent into hell” by Satoko, the director proposes it in an equally insistent image on an escalator, which descends metaphorically.
The film is not devoid of any attempt to tone up, with ironic-grotesque ideas: some lateral machine movements, in the room where Kanya works as a cook, review women who follow their deeds with dreamy doing; as well as, during a phone call to one of the aspiring “girlfriends”, Kanya is supported by his wife who, right there, quickly writes the most appropriate phrases that he then repeats in the phone.
The story of Kanya and Satoko “closes” on the eyes of the two protagonists, towards an off-screen that could also represent a new possible future.
Overall, however, a convincing work. Maybe just a little too long.