#NYAFF 2015 Review — TAKSU and the amazing SOLOMON’S PERJURY PART 1: JUDGEMENT
Intrepid and indefatigable cinephile-at-large Tanimaru graces us with a laser like focus on 2 more films from the 2015 New York Asian Film Festival:
The description of TAKSU in the NYAFF catalogue at first did not entice me to watch it, but after viewing the film, I was really impressed.
Kiki Sugino’s patient direction and cinematography pulled me into the story and into the lives of the two couples. I particularly liked that in places which may have been improvised, there were so subtitles.
The nuance of the Japanese language had a chance to be “heard” by foreign ears since there was nothing to read and at times the subtitles were incorrect in terms of really conveying the meaning.
I was also impressed with the characters they encountered in Indonesia – everyone somehow a reminder of colonization and tourist amusement. Even the young baby born into the world is not “pure” anything but a mix of Japan and the Dutch. Sugino herself is listed on IMDB with yet another name, Seo Yeong – hwa and the film is titled Yokudo. Yuri (Yoko Mitsuya) leads us through these worlds as she tries to make sense of her marriage and her dying husband. Her encounters are raw and mysterious just like the world around them of rituals and indigenous culture. When there is passion, not just sex, Sugino lets it play out unfiltered and at times a bit too long – but it is deliberate as we unravel along with Yuri towards the final climax of the movie.
If you missed it – try to catch it next time.
From the opening scene, you know you are in store for something unexpected in what appears to be a normal, Tokyo life. The body of a young boy is found by his classmates and the story begins.
What is curious about this film and a few more (PALE MOON) is the look back filmmakers are taking of Japan’s bubble era. The human toll that was faced. We watch as parents stressed out with consumption and debt, fight with teachers who feel morally responsible for the young man’s death and his classmates, some who want to move on and others, haunted by the memory of this young man, press on to come up with the idea of a trial to fully investigate what really happened.
The performances by the young cast along with the teachers and parents is powerful. The look of the film is also rich is muted tones of light and color that bring a grit to every scene. What is most telling is the extent of the violence. Domestic violence witnessed by family and ordinary bystanders. It is a look at Japan we rarely see but a revealing look as we begin to understand the cycle of violence that carries from generation to generation.
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