18 December 2012 | gioconda
Outstanding slice of life view of modern Japan
Director obviously studied masters like Godard, Antonioni, Cassavetes, Sirk and Polanski.
Film pace is like Ozu, in that director slowly unravels much of story in real time. So viewer feels like a character at a table sipping tea, waits impatiently for an elevator, stares in a mirror at oneself bewildered or simply passes time with the players in the film.
Brilliant sound editing during languid intervals. Cutlets sizzle in a fry pan, water runs in a sink, tea water bubbles and boils, soft warm breath exhales hot soup. Distinct sounds create atmosphere. Carl Jung wrote that smells evoke the most profound memories, but since that's not possible in a movie, sound subliminally provokes similar strong memory response.
The story details several years in a marriage between two artists who struggle to find a satisfying way to earn a living, deal with the tragic loss a baby, and interpersonal relationships with family, friends, employers, co-workers, in a rapidly changing society in which we are all forced to adjust in no matter what part of the globe we live. Universal issues.
That's why this movie works.
Brilliant in all aspects. The acting is so real you often feel as if you are watching a documentary.
When watching foreign movies, I always take with a grain of salt the translated subtitles, but, although I don't know Japanese, the translator has a fantastic grasp of American slang.
What does not need translating is the shot selection, the framing of actors' silent responses. Editing is as much a part of the storytelling as the dialogue. Job well done.
Exceptionally well-made movie that shows a fascinating slice of modern life in Japan. Women wear jeans and hoodies these days, people. Yet Japanese culture is still bound with rigid and complex traditions that few Westerners can begin to understand. To watch the modern Japanese characters cope with these traditions in the modern world is something rebellious artistic types anywhere can relate to no matter in what language or into whatever culture one was born.
Presented by the Sundance Channel. Thanks, Sundance! Thanks Mr. Redford! I'm a film nut, but I'd never heard of this outstanding film. Hope more people in the West have the opportunity to see it, as it's a great, great movie.
P. S. Film is based on a novel, so credit for story must also go to novelist. :)