12 March 2020 | JvH48
Slow burning, uninvolving drama despite good intentions of the film makers
Saw this at the Film Fest Ghent 2019 (filmfestival.be/en). Slow burning should not always be a problem, were it not that in this film nothing much happens, all things considered. I had expected something more substantial after Harmonium / Fuchi ni tatsu (2016). If anything, it at least succeeds in making abundantly clear, is that a series of small things, on itself mostly innocent and beyond anyone's control, can do a lot of damage when combined, resulting in derailing someone's complete life.
Reputation is important, in that part of the world even more than here, and can affect the relationship with your fiancée (who is a medical doctor), can slam the door to future jobs (as a nurse), and can work out badly on your current job (nursing an elderly mother). All these problems come together in this story. Several scenes try to make clear to us, from glances exchanged, that there is more to it than we think we know at that moment, leaving it up to us to guess what lies underneath.
All in all, despite obvious good intentions of the filmmakers, neither plot nor developments involved me in any way. It all comes down to an unfortunate combination of circumstances. Our main protagonist cannot help it in any way, it just happens around her. The world crumbles down and she is helpless in the process. It may all be very tragic. But a real drama should offer more, like leaving me pondering what would I've done in these circumstances to arrive at a better outcome. Or letting me fantasize what the main protagonist should have done to avert the omens at hand. But I was not involved enough to make either effort.