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Girls For Keeps (Gāru,ガール)

Girls For Keeps (Gāru,ガール)

[ Directed by ]
FUKAGAWA Yoshihiro
[ Produced by ]
KUBOTA Osamu
[ Cast ]
* Karina TAKIGAWA Yukiko
* ASO Kumiko TAKEDA Seiko
* KICHISE Michiko KOSAKA Yoko
* ITAYA Yuka HIRAI Takako
[ Staff ]
* Original Story: OKUDA Hideo
* Screenplay: SHINOZAKI Eriko
* Music: KONO Shin
* Production Design: KUROTAKI Kimie
[ Production Company ]
“GIRL” Movie Project
[ Distributor (Japan) ]

Release Date: May, 26, 2012
Running Time: 124 min
Genre: Drama, Feature
Color: Color
Screening Format : –
[ Story ]
Romantic comedy by Fukugawa Yoshihiro, director of In His Chart, that adapts Okuda Hideo‘s Naoki Prize-winning short story collection by the same name. The protagonist and her friends are played by Karina, Aso Kumiko, Kichise Michiko, and Itaya Yuka. Twenty-nine-year-old Yukiko (Karina) feels stuck in both work and love. On the cusp of turning thirty, she wonders if she can continue as she is… Yukiko’s three friends all have their own anxieties too. Groping and worrying, they try to figure out how to live as women.
[ Official Site ]
http://www.girl-movie.jp/index.html

The stories of four thirty-year-old friends, one at the threshold of thirty, two in the middle and one towards the end. They cross each other to paint their difficulties both at work and in private life. Yukiko (Karina) works in the world of fashion advertising and still has the expectations and behavior of a teenager. Seiko (Asō Kumiko) is a married manager with a passive husband. Takako (Itaya Yuka) is a mother of a girl who fights against the schedule and the salary to raise her child by herself. Kosaka (Kichise Michiko), finally, is a single who begins to lose the light of youth without having found a man to love.
Based on a novel by Okuda Hideo and presented as the Japanese Sex and the City, of sex it has very little, while the City is mainly present as a mechanism that crushes those who are weak and lonely. Despite happy endings stuck a little ‘hastily, the only glimpses of at least partial sincerity show a condition of women in Japanese society quite disheartening: little appreciated if you do not humiliate at work, stranded in empty relationships with apathetic males who have perhaps their greatest merit in not letting her feel alone. We do not talk then if one is alone with a child. Looking at the film as a whole in spite of its superficiality, the males really make a thin figure: truncated and fearful, arrogant and inert.
The whole plot, however, does not convince and the various events do not seem to find a unique narrative register. We move from comedy to melodrama too easily and the women protagonists do not arouse the slightest empathy despite being “on the side of reason”. The same actresses chosen to impersonate the four women do not look well on fire. Except for the case of Itaya Yuka in the part of the girl-mother, the dryness otherness, if not aggressiveness, of Asō Kumiko and Kichise Michiko, as well as the movements of Karina’s silly doll cannot communicate their suffering to us or even make them nice.
The director Fukugawa Yoshihiro, after an interesting debut Ōkami shōjo (When the Tent Came to my Town, 2005) and some other not-so-important titles, signed three films of relative success in 2011: the spin-off of the drama Byakuyakō ( Into the White Night), The sweet Patisserie Coin de Rue and the interesting Kamisama no karute (In His Chart).
[Katsuyuki Nakanishi]

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Katsuyuki Nakanishi
Born on 1984 in Nagoya City, Aichi Prefecture. Graduated in Vantan Film and Movie Institute major in film director. The fourth graduate of JSC Cinematographers assistant upbringing cramming school. While he was studying in Tokyo, he was also working with Director Shinya Tsukamoto's movie at the same time. After that, he became part of the lighting department of Toei Studios Kyoto, studied under Kiyoto Ando and Takashi Sugimoto. In these movies, he worked as an assistant lighting director with Takashi Sugimoto in "Chacha - Tengai no Onna"(2007) and Kiyoto Ando in "The Fallen Angel"(2010). He work as a freelancer since 2011 and became part of these latest movies as a lighting director of Director Yang Ik-June's ”Shibata and Nagao"(2012), Director Keisuke Yoshida’s ”Himeanile”(2016), Director Kohki Yoshida’s ”ThreeLights"(2017), Director Hiroshi Ando’s ”Moon and Thunder" (2017) and Director Shinya Tsukamoto’s ”Killing” (2018).

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