13 December 2016 | dgg321982
A fine Japanese comfort movie
It is gradually clear to me that the Japanese Genre movie is nobody's Hollywood melodrama. My adrenaline level did not peak even once within their typical 100 minutes movie length. These gems are like clean water in a stream, flows its way from begin to end without causing too much disturbance on its way. Their movies are much a "movie-nification" of the Japanese people: friendly, beautiful and yet keep a small distance to the interlocutor. For them, beauty comes from distance.
Flower 2010 is one of these Japanese genre movies. It is a heart-warming narrative about five generations of Japanese women stretching from 1930 to modern days. Among them, three generations and six of them were particularly in focus. All of them were portrayed by the most celebrated actresses in Japanese cinema: Yû Aoi, Yuko Takeuchi, Ryôko Hirosue to name the three. Together, they all give us a kaleidoscopic view of how the the roles and perception of women have gradually moved forward in the modern Japanese society: from assigned marriage to single mom, from housewives to professional female that stood up against her male colleagues, from happy marriage to being abandoned or widowed but without losing their courage to move on in life. The overlap of these periods and characters were subtle (this is not "How the west was won"-kind tilted narrative, in which some key characters appeared across the generations to connect the time) and the narrative was not linear (scenes were not chronic): only if you watched carefully and take up all the clues and hints that the filmmakers left behind, were you able to figure out who were whose daughters.
The pictorial backgrounds were just gorgeous. It took full advantage of the scenic Japan and presented us with its stunning diversity: Sakura avenue, snow scenes, the unique Japanese countrysides with all those oily green rice-paddies, the carefully adorned tatami indoor scenes and onsens (hot spring).
For me the welcoming surprise was from two of the all beautiful actresses: Ms Hirosue and Ms Aoi. They are famed for portraying the "kawaii" (cute and adorable) or girly characters before. And here they have proved themselves to be more versatile and picked up the challenge: portrayed two resolute young women, and in the said process they perfectly embodied the Japanese "Yamato Nadeshiko" (the Japanese female ideal: women that are kind, gentle, thoughtful, good at household, attentive to parents and supportive of their husband).
The whole movie was perfectly concluded and summarized by Olivia Newton-John's "Have you never been mellow?" in a happy scene, not only the lyrics ("Have you never tried to find a comfort from inside you") but also the mood, just a perfect match. After watching, it just gave me much to think over again and review it mentally.