[ Directed by ]
[ Produced by ]
• ONO Kousuke
• YAMAGUCHI Yukihiko
[ Cast ]
• MITSUYA Yoko SETSU Yuri
• SAITOH Takumi SETSU Chihiro
• SUGINO Kiki Kumi
[ Staff ]
• Screenplay: WAJIMA Kotaro
• Cinematography: SIDI Saleh
• Editor: LEE Chatametikool
• Music: TOMINOMORI Seigan
[ Production Company ]
[ Distributor (Japan) ]
[ Production Studio ]
Release Date: November 22, 2014
Running Time: 97 min
Screening Format: DCP
Screening Format with Subtitles
[ Story ]
The feature directorial debut of Sugino Kiki, known for her work as an actress and producer on films such as hospitalite. Set in Bali, it presents a delicate depiction of sexual love between men and women, and life and death. Winner of a Rising Director Award at the 2014 Busan International Film Festival.
Setsu Yuri (Mitsuya Yoko) visits Bali with her husband Chihiro (Saitoh Takumi). His younger sister Kumi (Sugino) lives there and is close to giving birth, while he is dealing with a serious heart ailment. Chihiro and Yuri enjoy touring the island, but a trivial conversation ruins the mood…
[ Official Site ]
[ Film Festivals, Awards ]
2014 Busan International Film Festival, A Window on Asian Cinema
2015 Gothenburg International Film Festival
2015 Munich International Film Festival
Yuri and Chihiro are a young married couple. Chihiro is waiting for a difficult surgery that may decide in one way or another his life. Because of his obsession, he can not free himself from the idea of his possible death. The relationship between the two spouses is very tense. A trip to Bali, perhaps, could help. Here the two are guests of Kumi, sister of Chihiro, and of his Dutch companion. Chihiro’s sense of death finds its counterweight in the imminent birth of his sister’s child. Despite the relaxed climate of Bali, the relationship between the two spouses do not improve. The husband proposes to the woman to go back alone in Japan, a bit ‘as if he preferred to stay there on their own and give up life. Exasperated, Yuri ends up betraying her husband with a local beach boy, a ‘specialized’ gigolo in Japanese women. When, however, after Kumi’s birth, she feels this and her partner exchange affectionate intimacies, she enters Chihiro’s room and finally manages to make love with him.
Thirty years old, actress (among others in Kantai by Fukada Kōji, 2010), producer and now also director, Sugino Kiki makes a film suspended between two irreconcilable models: on the one hand an auteur cinema that focuses mainly on a woman who in the lush world of Bali rediscovers its sensuality (the hidden model is that of Journey to Italy) and relies on slow times and long sequence plans (like that of the initial four-party dinner); on the other a film with soft erotic tones (to be a bit ‘bad we could say that the model is Amori in Ibiza), with prolonged sexual scenes, not explicit, and very glossy (the beach with the beach boy is a temptation to escape from the hall). It also features a representation of Bali from a tourist brochure: with local dances and music, temples, thermal baths, sunsets and beaches.
The underlying assumption is clear: the dialectic of life and death that passes through sexuality. But the characters who have to do it right, appear a bit ‘static and sometimes not understandable. When, during the first meeting with the beach boy, he tries to rape her in a public bath … she is neither in heaven nor on earth that she reacts to the incident almost with indifference and with little disturbance. Finishing then, a few hours away, being taken more than consenting.
The best moment of the film is perhaps, in its elusiveness a bit ‘Rosselliniana, the final one: Yumi and Chihiro on the beach, he who enters the water, she who stays on the shore. He who invites her to join her, leaving the field, and she remains sitting on the ground. An open suspended ending that refers to a hypothetical post-film every possible outcome, in that ambiguity – a bit of Bazin – that is typical of life, and sometimes even of cinema.
Which of the two aspects of Yokudō will prevail in Sugino’s next work (Manga niku to boku / Kyoto Elegy), already presented at the last Tokyo Festival.