Director: Zeze Takahisa
Screenplay: Yuki Sato
Manufacturers: 61th Berlin International Film Festival
Running Time : 278 mins.
Release Date : October 2, 2010
Score ★★★☆☆ 3/5
PIA : Comments : 3.5 / 5 output of rooms : 74/100
In an interview a few years ago, Takahisa Zeze, one of the so-called “Four Kings of Pink”, about the own cinema – the erotic genre -, declared: “I try to show relationships (among people), I make films on ‘love”.
Is to rethink that statement (at least the first part, since Heaven’s Story is not a sentimental genre, let alone erotic …) before the last mammoth work of director: in nearly five hours of film, divided into nine chapters covering a period of nine years, what interests the director seems to be mostly (still) the development of relationships: between victims and perpetrators of violent actions, including victims and victims, and also among the surviving humans and ghosts of the afterlife.
The film, best film 2010 seconds Eiga Geijutsu, third in Kinema Junpo and recent winner of the FIPRESCI and NETPAC Awards at the 61st Berlin Film Festival, is an articulate tale of revenge that follows the cycle of seasons and involves different characters: the young survivor of a family massacred by a psychopath, a man who swears revenge for the death of his wife and son, became a cop killer to help the family of another man by himself killed in self-defense, a partially deaf rock musician who manages to stop for a few years the cycle of violence, and more …
The different stories of the film, set in the complicated structure with classical Japanese theater frames that trace an ancient tale of monsters and humans, bring out many themes: revenge, in the first place, together with the state of emotional conflict of the people whose lives have been disrupted by the violence, but not only. The theme of death understood as loss, death in contrast to the birth, the relationship with the afterlife (the latter for example in the meeting of the ghosts of the murdered family with the only survivor; or in the many references to the cicada that free of the armor and “born again”). And then the memory, in the chapter on a woman suffering from Alzheimer’s (played by singer known Yamasaki Hako) that builds dolls, which decide to adopt a boy who killed a mother and her baby; and even the relationship with a strong and powerful nature, as in the chapter on the ghost town in the mountains. The film is ultimately a reflection on contemporary Japanese society.
Maybe too much? Maybe.
And in fact the work suffers from an intensity oscillating, sometimes it is really fascinating and overwhelming, in other rhythm undergoes unbridled accumulation and less convincing.
The use of theatrical frames gives it a tragic sense to the narrative and, in its way, it is as if trying to “bring order” in the stories and plots swirl; on the other hand fast and nervous anxiety filming return to the story. In this dense succession of events of (many) characters of which the director seems quite infatuated (of all, without exception, unable to choose between them such as “light” better at the expense of others and, in doing so, creating a crowded Olympus of gods and demigods …), many sequences that can not fail to strike. From one of the first group of children diving from a boat jetty, with footage from below the water surface, as if to invite, in preparation for the next four hours, to “dive” in the intense flow of images … to that long of ghost town nestled in a landscape of snowy mountains, epic place of life and death, the stage for unlikely showdowns, consisting of endless corridors which reflect the characters which are also the ghosts of pain, and concrete terraces on which men appear crushed under a leaden sky, which in turn seems to be a metaphor and reflection of that “heaven / hell” compressed into the human soul. Perhaps too, yes.