Director and screenplay: Matsunaga Daishi
Photography: Ikeuchi Yoshihiro
· Noda Yōjirō
· Lily Franky
· Sugisaki Hana
· Ichikawa Saya
· Ota Shinobu
· Miyazawa Rie
· Sawada Riku
· Furutani kanji
Production: Amagi Morio, Ogawa Shinji
Running Time: 120 minutes
Release Date: June 6, 2015
Official Site: www.japansociety.org/event/pieta-in-the-toilet
A film about the meaning of life, about the power of humans, about the paths of redemption. A movie about love, not intended as a romantic feeling, but rather like that “bad grass growing in the darkness,” an uncomfortable tangle of emotions that attracts, revolts and screams (not twirling), and strikes. That attraction is also annoying, but in an absolute sense, which you would like to avoid and you can not. What a surprise. How surprised is the protagonist of the movie. There is this girl at times unbearable in her hidden masterpiece. And it’s just for her that her “Madonna in the Couch” (in the end, how many of the best intentions there end): private, beautiful. Protected by the looks of the indifferent planet.
Matsunaga Daishi, known to the public especially for the 2009 Pyuupiru documentary, for his debut in fiction film, was inspired by the manga author Tezuka Osamu’s diaries, written during the terminal stages of the disease that led to death. Pieta in the toilet tells the story of Hiroshi (who has the face of the charismatic vocalist of the rock band Radwimps), a young artist forced, in order to survive, to abandon painting and to work in a company that deals with washing glasses Of skyscrapers. Suddenly, however, he begins to feel bad and, after examinations, he is diagnosed with an incurable illness with a life expectancy of a few months. The case wants the boy to meet in Mai, a disadvantaged student in those circumstances. Their relationship, for the time it will last, will both be a path of conflict, change, and acceptance.
Noda Yōjirō, at her film debut, is not particularly expressive, even though her gaze is able to convey that detached astonishment (in the face of illness, near death, in the intimperations of Mai, even in front of her father, clothed in her own role, Who candidly confess to him at one point: “I’ve always been your supporter, but I could not show it to you”) that is entirely compatible with the character. It redeems in part in the final, in the long sequences that make up the creation of his masterpiece.
Nevertheless, interpreted by the young Sugisaki Hana, is strong and intense, throughout the film. It is aggressive, but at the same time vital, and in a sense deserves the insisting final sequence in which the camera follows it as he walks along deserted roads, without a target, and ends in a close-up where his face is framed It really looks like a conscious and suffering Madonna-girl, at the same time beautiful.
Appreciate the light, sometimes even ironic, tone that the director manages to keep in a tragic case. This is contributed by characters such as Lily Franky, an eccentric patient with whom Hiroshi will be sharing the room in the hospital and becoming his friend. There are also moments of particular intensity, never trivial, like the one in which with a lonely song in the Hiroshi forest expresses all the desperate nostalgia for the time that flees. Or sequences to the limit of the documentary, such as the one that takes all the stages of “giving birth” of the Pietà personnel in the small bathroom of Hiroshi’s lodgings.
What should be done to make life meaningful? Maybe you can start diving and swimming in a pool filled with red fish. [Katsuyuki Nakanishi]