[ Directed by ]
[ Produced by ]
• IKEDA Fumitsugu
• ISHIDA Satoko
• AKASHI Naomi
[ Cast ]
• MIYAZAWA Rie UMEZAWA Rika
• IKEMATSU Sosuke HIRABAYASHI Kota
• KOBAYASHI Satomi SUMI Yoriko
[ Staff ]
• Original Story: KAKUTA Mitsuyo
• Screenplay: HAYAFUNE Kaeko
• Cinematography: SHIGUMA Makoto
• Sound Recording: KAKU Akihiko
• Lighting: NISHIO Keita
[ Production Company ]
“Pale Moon” Film Partners
[ Distributor (Japan) ]
[ Production Studio ]
Release Date: November 15, 2014
Running Time: 126 min
Genre: Mystery, Feature
Screening Format: DCP,HDCAM
Screening Format with Subtitles
・English (DCP, HDCAM)
[ Story ]
An adaptation of popular author Kakuta Mitsuyo’s eponymous novel by
The Kirishima Thing
director Yoshida Daihachi. It depicts the downfall of a housewife who falls head over heels in love and into a life of crime. Miyazawa Rie, starring in her first film in seven years, convincingly plays the protagonist who plummets toward her own destruction.
Wakaba Bank contract employee Rika (Miyazawa) meets university student Kota (Ikematsu Sosuke) at a client’s home. Unknown to her husband Masafumi (Tanabe Seiichi), she engages in secret rendezvous with Kota, and begins to embezzle money from her clients’ accounts to buy expensive cosmetics and pay off Kota’s debt.
[ Official Site ]
[ Film Festivals, Awards ]
• 2014 Tokyo International Film Festival, Competition, Best Actress Award, Audience Award
• 2014 Torino Film Festival
• 2014 Japanese Film Festival in Australia
As a child, Rika attends a private Catholic school for wealthy families and is excited about doing charity. She adopts a Thai child from a distance, she sends her a drawing and a photograph of her showing a cheek scarred by an ugly scar.
Da grande Rika is a poor and unhappy wife who responds to the announcement of an advertisement and goes to work in the bank. Her repressed dissatisfaction appears on the surface as seriousness and her boss entrusts her with the delicate task of following the savings and investments of private clients at their homes. On the occasion of a visit to a rich elderly client, he meets his nephew, a university student. When he sees him on the street, he remains touched. At the next casual meeting, he starts a relationship. He takes care of himself more and shopping for himself. But the boy has a big debt and for his sake Rika breaks the banks: produces a false receipt for a large deposit of a customer and steals the money. Thus began an escalation of subtractions of money from customers and increasingly crazy expenses: clothes, watches, hotels from thousands of euros to weekends, cars, a beautiful house for rent to stay with the young.
However, the good game does not last long. On the one hand, the young man gets tired of his golden isolation with a middle-aged woman and prefers to go back to having fun as a poor man with his peers. On the other hand, an inflexible old colleague, Yoriko, begins to feel that something is wrong and digs inexorably until the case explodes. Without a penny, put her back to the wall, Rika flees into thin air. We’ll see her back in Thailand buying a fruit from a street retailer who happens to be the child benefited from her.
Yoshida Daihachi came to this film on the back of a series of intriguing works. Already Funuke domo, kanashimi no ai wo misero (2007) had been a pleasant surprise with his taste for unconventional humor. Permanent Nobara (2010), a witty but also bitter portrait of a female microcosm, always suspended between drama and irony, was a confirmation. The remarkable Kirishima, bukatsu yamerutteyo (The Kirishima Thing, 2012), finally, marked a further growth towards artistic maturity. The relentless reconstruction of the facets of a school community in the light of the passing of one of the film-loving students had been one of the best titles of the year in more than one ranking.
After these premises, the expectations were many but they are quite disregarded. The overall impression of Kami no tsuki (literal translation “Pale Moon”) is that of an old and obvious story (the housewife, then employed, who “gets free”), shot without any stylistic peculiarity that justifies her. Indeed, if you look closely, the specifically cinematographic elements that the director adds, are pejorative. The use of slow motion in particular scene where Rika goes down the subway stairs to start the clandestine relationship. The mass songs the ones that Rika sang at school as a child, that punctuate various scenes and fades in White. These are all things that contribute to trivializing history.
But it is above all on the level of meanings that the director seems unable to find a clear line. Yoshida seems to never want to take a stand against the story: the work of Rika is neither approved nor tried again but above all does not raise any involvement, positive or negative in the viewer. Finally, the key episode Yoshida entrusts with “the message in the bottle”, the final interview between Rika and his elderly colleague, the incorruptible and iron-clad Yoriko. Pressed by the latter on the real reasons of what she did, Rika reveals that she wanted to experience the thrill of spending a whole night out (the same dream, declared but unfulfilled of Yoriko) and that after she did it and she repeated (expanded) she understood that everything is false (textual). She understood that money does not give happiness. These considerations are interspersed with images of Rika as a child, when she still believed in the power of money to achieve happiness (then it was through charity, now it is for “self-consumption”). The final scene, apparently added specifically and one of the weakest of the whole film, can not decide for a definitive orientation. Charity money served, in the sense that adopting the child was useful because now that the child is an adult with a family and a job. Or it was all useless, that the child saved from the road, on the road is back with her miserable stall. The doubt remains but, what is worse, once again the viewer is disinterested in the fate of the protagonist.
The impression is that Yoshida has wanted to pack a consumer product for the general public (many famous actors, the snow that falls while ours are at the bar, in the background the clarinet music at Woody Allen) without worrying too much about consistency. The fact is that it does not seem to have succeeded. Paradoxically, the television drama based on the novel itself (by Kakuta Mitsuyo, also author of the novel from which Yōkame no semi, 2011) was drawn, in its naturally less elaborate form, had come better, starting with the protagonist, the teacher par excellence Harada Tomoyo, which well made the attraction fear for transgression. Miyazawa Rye, however, does not seem to have been a good choice. Too much cold, dry, impersonal, it is always on the thorns throughout the film. We do not talk about sex scenes, whose banality is staggering. In one thing, the film is better than the drama: the extraordinary interpretation of Kobayashi Satomi in the role of Yoriko.
One last note. The image spread everywhere of Rika fascinating banknotes is a bin. It does not appear in any scene in the movie.