Director and screenplay: Kurosawa Kiyoshi, Ujita Takashi
Photography: Ashizawa Akiko
· Asano Tadanobu
· Fukatsu Eri
· Aoi Yū
· Chiba Tetsuya
· Emoto Akira
Production: Comme des Cinémas, Office Shiro, Wowow Films
Running Time: 127 minutes
Release Date: October 1, 2015
Towards the other shore, the title of the French version of the film, is quite suitable for this love story suspended between fantastic and road movie. This time, the director decides to bring Yumoto Kazumi’s novel on screen, which proposes a kind of upside-down version of Orpheus and Eurydice’s myth.
Returning to life, three years after his death, is the mild and crippled dentist Yusuke (Asano Tadanobu), who reappears to his wife Mizuki (Fukatsu Eri). After joining, the couple decides to visit some souls who still can not abandon this world because of regret and guilt, helping them finally leave with serenity in the world of the dead. The first recipient of the trip is a middle-aged gentleman living by distributing newspapers in a small town and letting his wife abuse her alive. It is then the turn of a couple who run a restaurant: the woman feels guilty of unjustly reproaching her sick little sister, who died shortly after. Yusuke and Mizuki find themselves and seem to be happy in their new dress, though their love before Yusuke’s death was not so idyllic.
Kurosawa, while keeping the dear themes in his cinema, such as the void and the supernatural, here seems to want to favor the love story and the sentimental tone. The reappearance of Yusuke, who comes home, eats the favorite dish prepared by Mizuki and forgets to remove his shoes, as if he had never left, is natural, absolutely unprepared or underlined by special effects or musical commentary. The camera lasts long on the shoulder Mizuki figure, then moves with side machine movements.
The first part of the film is almost entirely shot in the apartment of the two, while the second is dominated by the natural landscape of the countryside. Nothing strange or frightening, just a few uncomplicated phenomenon. Kurosawa scans the story in chapters; The first seems to have the dominant theme of life, absence; The second remorse, regret, love; The last, the longest and most complex, set in a rural village where a waterfall is the point where the earthly world and the afterlife meet, the past and the death.
Kurosawa has in mind a precise model from which to distance itself, After Life of Koreeda, where the souls passed over watching the movie of the best moment of their existence. Kishibe no tabi is a melancholic, silent journey, despite the notes of the piano echoing from the beginning, with some lucid insights, such as the découpage of colored flowers on the wall behind the bed, created by the first character helped in his departure from Yusuke Mizuki. The picture on the wall revives an environment otherwise made of neutral and sober tones, which seems to have no color. The souls of those who come back have no thickness, no consistency, disappear, lose light and become dark, dark. When the ghosts appear, the natural brightness of the environments shrinks, becoming obscure. Some solutions therefore remind very closely the disturbing atmospheres of the killer lost in the computer circuits of Cairo (Pulse, 2001), but tenderness and bitterness prevail in this case. The encounter with the dead reappears never really fills the distance between individuals, to approach them. Mizuki and Yusuke can not initially get in touch physically, just traveling, moving and helping others joins them. There are many things that remain suspended or hidden. The viewpoint chosen by the director remains, however, that of the young woman. She is to rejoice her husband, she who deals with the past of both, she cares about the regrets. A Kurosawa is rediscovered, therefore, romantic, intimate, that leaves nightmares and fright a bit apart, to investigate more closely in the mystery of human emotions. There remains a universe consisting of infinitely small but empty particles. So Yusuke explains the theory of atom and relativity in his lesson to the inhabitants of the last village where he moved with Mizuki, and Kurosawa interprets him in his cinema.