[ Directed by ]
[ Produced by ]
[ Cast ]
* SOMETANI Shota GAMO Toshiya
* KUROKAWA Mei GAMO Saki
* NAGASE Masatoshi GAMO Saburo
[ Staff ]
* Original Story: ITO Takami
* Planning: KOSHIKAWA Michio
* Screenplay: OISHI Michiko
* Cinematography: TAMURA Masaki
* Lighting: YAMAMOTO Hiroshi
[ Production Company ]
[ Distributor (Japan) ]
[ Production Studio ]
Release Date: August, 2nd, 2014
Running Time: 89 min
Genre: Drama, Feature
Screening Format: DCP, Blu-ray, DVD
Screening Format with Subtitles
[ Story ]
The first directorial effort of veteran cinematographer Tamura Masaki, who has been a key figure in Japan’s independent film scene since his debut in 1970. Based on Akutagawa Prizewinning author Ito Takami’s eponymous short story, it presents a distanced view of the lives of an uncouth sister and brother and their anachronistic father.
Saki (Kurokawa Mei) and Toshiya (Sometani Shota), who have lived their entire lives at a run-down roadside diner, are belittled by others as “the children of a family of idiots” due to their ne’er-do-well father Saburo (Nagase Masatoshi). Saki rebels against this by turning into a delinquent then leaves home after becoming pregnant.
[ Official Site ]
A provincial country. A family marginalized in social and affective conditions in a remarkable descent. Father, mother and two teenage children, Toshi and her sister Saki. His father (Nagase Masatoshi), ex-yakuza expelled from the organization, manages the macho-drive of a drive-in bar (always empty), his mother (Nekota Nao) submissive and resigned, makes the housewife. Toshi (Sometani Shōta) attends high school, though never seen, Saki (Kurokawa Mei) is always at home. He is timid, fearful and quiet. She is angry, she always fights with her father and breaking with the world. The one with whom she has a sincere relationship is his brother.
With continuous flash-back and flash-forward, the story runs flat on ordinary tracks and contained degradation. Toshi and the only friend who made some bravado; Saki becomes tired of tattoos, drinks, makes love with Toshi’s friend and sobils her brother against her father. Then his father dies.
We find Saki with a daughter and a wedding already in pieces. Saki and her violent husband discuss their future in the restaurant of another drive-in (topical of this movie) while Toshi waits in the car park with the little girl. When her husband slaps her sister, Toshi comes down and threatens him with an ice punch. Saki and her husband are definitely separated. Toshi, Saki and the little girl come home to re-open the family drive. Life goes on.
From the first scenes of this simple story, but touching a pre-rational level, I perceived that this was a film not so much to “understand” as to “watch”. It’s the pictures to talk. And the reason is immediately understood if you look at the biography of this “newcomer” director. Tamura Masaki, class 1939 is indeed one of the greatest directors of Japanese film photography. After being the soul behind the chamber of the legendary Sanrizuka series of Ogawa Production, he was the director of photography of some of the most significant Japanese directors of recent decades, including Ishii Sōgo, Yanagimachi Mitsuo, Shōmai Shinji, Itami Jūzo, Kuroki Kazuo, Suwa Nobuhiro, Kawase Naomi, Kurosawa Kiyoshi and in particular, Aoyama Shinji.
His film seems to be a visual treatise of shooting techniques written by a great master. Almost every scene is different from the others and is always a joy of the gaze. Fixed central room, close-ups, long fields, car looks, first-floor blur, moving machine that follows action, moving machine moving slower, sliding action, impossible shots from above, oblique, from below. And the “battle horse” of Tamura, the extraordinary machine movements of the longest without the slightest debarking. The catalog is large and often further enriched, in giving us emotion, from the choice of music tracks made only with the acoustic guitar just mentioned, just to give us the idea of what the atmosphere is and then immediately interrupted.
It is through this high-class stylistic deployment that the story of the characters on the screen makes life and excites us. From a glance, a ray of light, a muttered face with low eyes, we understand the labor of the small exponents of the protagonists, their absence of perspectives, but also their capability to go anyway further, more for inertia than for stoicism, and we live with them.
A movie that confirms the old saying never to say that it does not matter what to film but how it is filmed.