13 August 2010 | mhananoki
entertaining, shows a lot of Japan and Japanese people and tensions between people, recommended.
I really enjoyed this movie because I am Japanese-American, have never been to Japan, but am really interested in going someday (when I have extra money) and also because I study Japanese language as a hobby. I was in a university library and saw this movie, Campaign (or Senskyo, the Japanese word for campaign) in the 'new titles' section and grabbed it because it has an eye-catching graphic and because I love watching things in Japanese with subtitles; I chose this over 'It's Complicated.' I made the right choice.
I really loved this movie! I felt like I was in Japan and really felt like I was part of the campaign. You see a lot of shots of the train station, the Japanese houses, the inside of the tiny tiny apartments Japanese people live in (so different from the US--they don't even spend much money on furniture it seems), and the campaign people eating Japanese food and participating in Japanese rallies at schools or for elderly people who apparently exercise in groups doing aerobics like you would see on TV.
Aside from being able to see and experience some of Japan, I also enjoyed the comedy of this movie, or maybe the psychological aspects of it--the behavior and thinking of the different people who appear. You can see that people get irritated at the candidate for not conforming to the party's expectations, and there is some gossip and intrigue that makes it feel like the viewer really gets a sense of the people, even those who are not introduced. The campaign vibe is tense at times, formal/ritualistic oftentimes, and seems trivial once in a while. I really liked the shots of Japanese children who are actually the most excited about the campaign. They were really cute.
I recommend this movie, especially if you are interested in Japan and Japanese people or if you know any Japanese people, because this will remind you of those Japanese friends/relatives you have. I also recommend the extras on the DVD which are clips of the cute filmmaker and the star of the movie in Berlin. Lastly, I should mention that like the other reviewers said, this movie does feel a bit long because the conclusion/denouement doesn't come till maybe 100 minutes in, but I watched this over several days and felt it was well worth watching the whole thing.