29 February 2000 | KFL
Rather odd but humorous movie, with echoes from Chekhov
This is a by turns humorous, poignant, and bizarre story of an elderly actress, Youko, who is visited by an old friend, Tomie...or rather, Tomie, who is now senile, is brought to Youko's retreat in the countryside by her doting husband. Youko and Tomie once appeared together in some Chekhov plays, including The Seagull and Three Sisters.
Kind of hard to recommend this one highly, though there is some nice humor throughout most of it, and the acting isn't too bad. But the behavior of Tomie, who is supposed to be senile, is highly implausible, and numerous scenes don't work at all. The pallbearers carrying the casket out of the ocean is especially weird. Presumably it's being imagined by one or both of the women watching--but it's filmed with far too much realism.
The young actress (forget her name) seems to be present only for some gratuitous nudity...she doesn't get a chance to do much other than take off her clothes.
Clearly the screenwriter has a thing about Chekhov...for there are touches from both the two plays mentioned in this story. Particularly the way Youko has put her own career ahead of her own husband, now deceased, with results she is only now discovering, paralleling the story in The Seagull. The two young newlyweds going on their honeymoon to Moscow and beyond is another not-so-subtle (or plausible) nod to APC.
I suspect there may not be an English dubbed or subbed version of this movie.