Director and screenplay: Hashiguchi Ryōsuke
Photography: Ueno Shōgo
· Shinohara Atsushi (Atsushi, il vedovo)
· Batushima Toko (Toko, la casalinga)
· Ikeda Ryō
· Ando Tamae
· Kuroda Daisuke
· Yamanaka Takashi
· Uchida Chika
· Yamanaka So
· Lily Franky
· Kino Hana
· Mitsuishi Ken
Production: Shochiku / Arc Films
Running Time: 140 minutes
Release Date: November 14,2015
Directed by one of the protagonists of the Japanese film revival of the nineties, Hashiguchi Ryōsuke (Hatachi no binetsu, A Touch of Fever, 1993, Nagisa no sandobaddo, Like Grains of Sand, 1995, Hush !, 2001), seven years after Last and touching Gururi no koto (All Around Us), Koibitotachi (literally: “Fall in Love”) was defined by Tony Rayns as “The Japanese Movie of the Year”.
By forcing things a bit, we could say that there are directors who first know how to tell stories, and directors who instead prefer to build characters. Hashiguchi, also a screenwriter, undoubtedly belongs to this second category. The story, for him, is but a means to talk about man, his feelings, his soul. By telling three stories that intertwine with each other, passing seamlessly from one to another, Hashiguchi draws a breakthrough that more than singularity points on a condition that is unique to many, if not all. A neglected and offended housewife by her husband, Toko, seeks consolation in a man who looks kind and in love, and then finds out that it is a weak and vile individual. A widow who works with extraordinary skills in the maintenance of the river bridges, Atsushi, can not forget the accident that caused his wife’s death, and in an attempt to legally prosecute the fact, ends up losing all his money . A homosexual lawyer, Satoshi, sees his married lover move away ever more from his existence.
The stories of Toko, Atsushi, and Satoshi have in common the theme of the suffering of love: of a love sought and not found, of a lost love forever, of a love that slides away every day more and more. Along with the accurate geometry of his overall interplay, made of passable passages from one story to another and fleeting encounters between his various protagonists (for example, the lawyer to which the widow turns to get justice is that of the unpaid Homosexual love), Koibitotachi finds its main reasons for being in the intensity of many of his single scenes.
The race in the fields, the pursuit of a hen, Toko and the man she falls in love with, revolving with swirling machine movements by hand, knows how to express the trepidations and the joy of a rising love as he succeeds To do the simple gesture of her hand that touches herself casually, but when, once the animal is caught, the man with an immediate and unexpected gesture flickers his neck, every illusion abruptly ends with a Gesture that seems to want to anticipate and prelude to what will be the end of this ‘love story’.
At home, after dinner, with her mother-in-law and her husband, Toko is brushed with a tap on the shoulder by the man. It’s like an order. She runs down the street and goes shopping for a box of condoms. She returns, goes to the room, raises her skirt and picks her husband up to get in, before moving mechanically and then go to the bathroom to wash. Rarely in a movie I saw so intensely represented the horror of certain conjugal sexuality.
Atsushi is late with the rates of medical insurance and so can not undergo the treatment he needs. When he goes to the agency, he is repeatedly humiliated, because of his poor condition, by the clerk behind the counter. The growing of his anger, the hard work to succeed in holding it is another moment in the film that can not push the spectator into a feeling of great indignation.
Yet, despite the desperation that pervades, Koibitotachi’s epilogue, without being a happy ending, is filled with some hope. Toko’s husband again nods to the woman, but when this is about to go out, he tells her that condom is not necessary because, after all, I’m a couple. Maybe something in him has changed, and Toko’s smile is the desire
Atsushi is working under the bridges, knocking on one of his bearing walls, and saying “yoshi!” (“All right”); Then touch another wall and, again, another “yoshi!”; Finally, he looks up in the direction of the blue sky, towards which the camera will go up, and again pronounces, for a third and last time, “yoshi!”. How can we say that life is nothing but plundering of traps, within which we inevitably end up falling, but it is not said that we can not get out and start running again. “Koibitotachi? Yoshi! “.
An invitation to the festivals: a complete Hashugichi staff is made of only five films … and it would be worth it.