2 January 2005 | ryuichi_uk
quiet, meditative and deeply rewarding
I'm a big fan of Takeshi Kitano's work, and I feel this film is his best. Whilst films like Hana-bi, Kids return, and Sonatine may have all the idiosyncratic traits that have made Takeshi so critically acclaimed, they all rely on extremities to convey their message. In the case of 'Ano natsu, ichiban shizukana umi', the director has excelled himself by retaining all the interesting and original traits of his more graphic films, yet managing to tell a story that is just as deep and provocative, only to a more subtle degree.
The story tells of a young, deaf, disenchanted garbage-collector who one day finds a ruined surf-board lying amidst some rubbish. This inspires the boy to become a great surfer, and with the help of a young deaf girl, he gradually becomes more skillful as time progresses, their love blossoming during the course of the movie.
The camera work is extremely sedate and enveloping, managing to capture the calmness of the sea. The characters do not speak, yet the story never seems to drag at all, with each scene drawing the viewer steadily into this very attractive and insular world that they inhabit. The music, scored by Joe Hisiashi, has a very static, timeless quality to it - a mixture of marimba, synthesisers, piano & string instruments manage to convey the atmosphere of the film exceedingly well, with the main theme song capturing the extremely melancholy feel of the film.
This is one of the most beautiful, haunting films you will ever see.