Sunday, July 19, 2015

Japan Cuts Capsules 2- Asleep, Hibi Rock, This Country's Sky, The Make Up Room, Undulant Fever

With Japan Cuts ending later today here are the last bunch of films from the festival in easy to swallow capsule form.

UNDULANT FEVER (When I Sense the Sea)
Based on a notorious book written by an 18 year old young woman, the film charts the severely damaged mutually abusive relationship between a young woman and a slightly older fellow student. Every time she see him she is filled with lust. We follow as the pair drift together and part and as the roles change over time. Brooding angsty film was not my cup of tea. Partly I thought it was taking too long to get where it was going but mostly I didn't care for the two lead characters. I felt more like smacking them than anything. As for the eroticism, I was bored. While it has a bit more going on than other recent erotic films based on novels (50 Shades) its still just as eh.

Based on what director Kei Morikawa saw when making adult films this is the story of what happens in the make up room of a porn shoot. While the conceit of the film never leaving the makeup room is initially interesting the film rapidly bogs down into what the film started out to be, namely a one set stage play. While the film is funny at times the frequent static nature of the film works against it (which is the result of the dull camera work). This should have been better than it is.

Long time in coming and World Premiering film at Japan Cuts this is the story of life in a ward of Tokyo in the waning days of the Second World War is largely what happens when a 19 year old girl falls for her neighbor, a married man whose family has been evacuated from the city.  I'm not sure how or I should really review the film. The image seemed a tad grainy and the whole thing seemed as if it was a work in progress.  Allowing for that I will say that what I saw left me feeling mixed on the film. While I liked the look inside the city during war time, I found the plotting overly soapy and not to my taste. I'm not sure if its's the print or the fact that when I saw it I was coming to the end of two film festivals worth of films. I'll try it again down the line and get back to you.

Yu Irie's wild and crazy manga adaption was the Opening night film for Japan Cuts and its a blast and a half. Very much a live action comic come to life.  Both Eden and Mondo are taking runs by the film so let me just say I loved it.

Based on a book by Banana Yoshimoto's story about a woman in a perpetual dreamlike state, where she sleeps until the next encounter with a married lover whose wife is in a coma and while remembering a friend who committed suicide this is one of the dullest films I've ever seen. While I intellectually know what it was trying to do all it made me want to do was fall asleep. I don't care if Sakura Ando is in it the movie is a bore.

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