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Kokuhaku (Confessions) (2010) March 13, 2011

Posted by ayasawada in Film, Japan, Rave.
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Confessions poster

A few weeks ago I flicked over the channels late at night and found Tetsuya Nakashima‘s Memories of Matsuko on. Unimpressed by the pseudo-Amelie wackiness of it all, the friend I was with sniffed at the nonsensical plot and overstylised visuals. “Where’s the substance?,” he asked.

With Kokuhaku, Nakashima finally answers such questions. It is simply outstanding; a film of profundity and raw emotion to match Nakashima’s undoubted visual flair. This is the film in which Nakashima matures, marrying beautiful slow-mo and overhead shots with a stunningly bleak colour palate to create an atmosphere and pacing that completely sucks you in. (more…)

Lalapipo (2009) November 15, 2009

Posted by ayasawada in Film.
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Lalapipo poster

There are only two types of people in the world, those who take chances and those who don’t. The trouble is, more often than not, those chances still land you in a stinking pile of shit.

That’s essentially the premise of Lalapipo, the title of which alludes the ‘lot of people’ in Tokyo. It’s a film about the dead-end lives of several Tokyoites stuck in the city’s sex industry — that weird underbelly of Japanese society that’s seemingly always in your face, but which people try not to talk about in everyday conversation.

It’s perfect subject matter then for Tetsuya Nakashima (of Kamikaze Girls and Memories of Matsuko fame), who excels at bringing out the weird, funny, but painful, reality of Japan’s hopeless. (As it happens, Nakashima was just the screenwriter on this one, but his fingerprints are all over this. There’s even a car-crash scene in which one of the main characters gets tossed in the air à la Momoko in Kamikaze Girls).

(SPOILERS AHEAD) (more…)