Director and screenplay: Yamamoto Masashi
Photography: Takagi Futa
Music: Dr. Tommy
· Hyunri (Min-jung)
· Shuri (Mina)
· Murakami Jun (Akao)
· Matsuzaki Hayate (Mamoru)
· Nakamura Natsuko (Sae)
· Takagi Yui
· Kamataki Akio (Mikio,Min-jung’s father)
· Oda Kei (Takasawa)
· Hagiwara Riku (Shinji)
Production: Muraoka Shinichiro
Running Time: 129 minutes
Release Date: August 30, 2014
“After the tragedy of Fukushima, there is a claustrophobic atmosphere in Japan, a climate of suffering … That’s why I wanted to make a film that would embody a general sense of salvation.” They are Yamamoto Masashi’s words on his latest movie, The Voice of Water.
The work, which was born as an extension of a director’s previous short film, develops around the figure of Min-jung, a twenty-year-old Korean, “priestess” of a religious sect called “God’s Water.” The girl collects the confessions of the disciples and dispenses “oracles”, and she, at least at the beginning of history, is the fundamental part of a structure that seems much more oriented to the economic-commercial implications than to the questions of the spirit. A crisis of consciousness, however, leads at some point to Min-jung to move away from the sect and to seek out its origins at the shamanic Korean community of which Grandma also belonged. It will not be a barrier-free path: the yakuza, also staged by his own father, Mikio, will make the girl face very dramatic moments before finally reaching her grandmother’s grave on Jeju Island, Korea.
The Voice of Water is certainly not the first film to tackle the theme of religious sects and their dangerous drifts – just think of Love Sposo’s Love Exposure or Koreeda Hirokazu’s Distance or, again, The Soup, one morning by Takahashi Izumi. In this case, director Yamamoto insists on whether it is profit-oriented and business-oriented, concealed behind a façade of spiritual support organizations.
In addition to the issue of religious sects, a theme well in the movie is about the Korean community: although the director states that this aspect is in a sense accentuated by the fact that the protagonist was in Korean, the film dedicated Space for memories of people and families who have experienced immigration stories.
The character of Min-jung is certainly one that, in an increasingly “dense” scenario of events, stands out among others: it turns, rebels to the system and an apparently passive acceptance of the context in which it is to live He evolves and becomes an actress of his own destiny and his own story. The director moves his heroine between a claustrophobic city and the natural space that accentuates even more urban “constraints”; She follows her in a series of strokes, giving spectators moments of satire, moral messages and scenes that seem to be drawn from the most typical yakuza movie.
Water, present in the first and last frame, as in so many references in the film, is proposed as a symbol of mystery, or, even better, of supernatural: as Min-jung, introduces a silent “contradiction” in a work in Where spiritual matters seem to serve only to keep the money machine running.