6 July 2014 | crossbow0106
A Recent Memory
Anyone familiar with the work of Sion Sono knows he pushes the limits of things, whether they be taste or life. This film does the same but in an entirely different way from his more recent work. The film is about an earthquake in Nagashima and possible effects of radiation from a nuclear power plant not that far away. Yasuhiko Ono refuses to leave, staying with his wife Chieko, who has a form of dementia. He is asked to leave and refuses, but insists his son Yoichi and daughter in law Izumi (played by the star of Sono's Guilty Of Romance, Megumi Kagurazaka)evacuate, which they finally do. Izumi finds out she is pregnant and, though according to the government is in a safe area, is so cautious about radiation she makes everyone in town dislike her. If you have never lived through a natural disaster you would have no idea what to do. Despite this, the film is not depressing. There are moments that are poignant, but its also about a by now weary people and the choices they make. A particularly amazing scene is when Yasuhiko finds Chieko, who wandered away, and puts her on his back. That expression of love is simple but uplifting. While the subject matter can be emotionally jarring, it is a film with purpose and even some restraint. Mr. Sono continues to be a terrific writer/director and this somewhat departure from his latest films like Love Exposure, Cold Fish and Guilty Of Romance is just another example of his uncompromising, brilliant work.