Maybe is me and my mood, maybe are the movies I’ve choosing lately or maybe there are many movies that start so “normal” that you start to wonder why you decided to watch that much talked about movie; then suddenly out of the blue in the most unexpected moment movie and story becomes intense, takes your breath away with the most magnificent visuals and cuts right inside your self with the most spectacular original music score.
Not often have the opportunity to watch movies that so successfully use music to generate emotions but the outstanding Jonny Greenwood score plus the extraordinary use of music at the right moment by Anh Hung Tran made music score to literally go inside me, grab everything that found inside and squeeze it! That’s how good the music score could be when used at the right moment, truly extraordinary use of music in film.
When movie changes so does story that moves to the country to show the most dramatic beauty in the most outstanding framing compositions that are kept when story comes back to Tokyo making your visual, narrative and score listening very but very intense. Definitively is one of the few movies that really touch me not only from what my eyes are watching, the words and most of all, the music my ears are hearing all merged into one magnificent cinematic moment that continues one moment after the other. Superb.
But the beginning is so normal that if you start to wonder why are you watching the movie please stay as will change when you least expect it.
Outstanding performance by Rinko Kikuchi as Naoko, a role that gave her a nomination for Best Actress at the 2010 Asian Film Awards but also Kenichi Matsuyama gives a splendid performance in his normal university student moments as in his most dramatic instances. It’s not my first Anh Hung Tran film as a long time ago I discovered his magnificent The Scent of Green Papaya and if any of you have watched this movie you will recall his particular narrative rhythm while watching first part of film, but nothing prepares you to when he moves story to the country that perhaps because story happens in Japan, his style absolutely recalls the style of contemporary Japanese directors like for example, Naomi Kawase. Beautiful but very beautiful to watch.
According to what I read story is not the same as the one told in the book that inspired Anh Hung Tran’s screenplay, so maybe it’s better to say that Haruki Murakami’s novel gave Hung Tran an idea to create a different tale. Film tells about three young kids that grew and went to school together; we have Kizuki that knows Naoko since they were 3-years-old, kiss in 6th grade and now older teenagers are in love. The third is Kizuki’s best friend Toru Watanabe and the three do almost everything together. Story is told by Toru and when Kizuki commits suicide Toru leaves town, as far as he could; cut to the sixties, the Vietnam war, Tokyo, with Toru being at university, see his everyday life, the student protests, his love of books, his solitary attitude, and his sex experimenting. Everything is flat, robot-like life until one day he sees Naoko and yes, everything changes in the story and in the movie. Is a love story, a beautiful told not really happy but with a happy ending (maybe?) story.
Movie premiered in competition at 2010 Venice and traveled the fest circuit but surely the most deserved honor is winning Best Cinematography at the 2011 Asian Film Awards. A must be seen film for those that enjoy Japan set beautiful art cinema done by a renown French Vietnamese director and in my opinion seems that film will be more enjoyable if you haven’t read novel by Muramaki as story will be new which will allow to more easily admire the complete package of narrative, visuals and music score.
Watch trailer @MOC