Film Review _JAPAN CUTS 2015 – THE VOICE OF WATER
Guest Reviewer and cinephile-at-large Tanimaru has seen Japan Cuts 2015 film THE VOICE OF WATER:
I remember Masashi Yamamoto’s 3 POINTS that played “Japan Cuts” a few years back and not being impressed by what I found a wandering film that lacked a core. It played like rough sketches in preparation for making a film. A few years later BE MY BABY came on the scene and my faith in Yamamoto’s work returned.
His newest work THE VOICE OF WATER pushes the bar even higher with stunning performances and the sensitive theme of organized religion in Japan and the link to Korea. The Korean tie I found especially interesting. After viewing KABUKI-CHO LOVE HOTEL, at the New York Asian Film Festival last week, which featured a key story with two Korean characters, it is refreshing, if not controversial, that filmmakers are looking directly at those who make up today’s young Japan. VOICE OF WATER also features an African character who teams up with a Yakuza figure in the film.
Despite the glossy appeal of the lead actress who plays a Shaman for the religion “God’s Water” – this is a movie about need, about people searching for meaning when their lives have gone far astray coping with day to day life in Tokyo. The colors, the sounds – all of it is intoxicating and pulls you into the world of this cult orchestrated by an executive from a top ad agency in Tokyo.
What Yamamoto pulls off so well is the primal appeal that drives everyone to the cult and ultimately away from it. In the final 10 minutes, when the film reaches its climax, the miracle we’ve been waiting for finally occurs but in a way we knew was just around the corner right from the start. We’ve learned the history of yet another Korean connection to Japan – and the power of women and of spirits.
About the Director:
Masashi Yamamoto (The Voice of Water)
Yamamoto first debuted Carnival in the Night (1983) at the Berlin Film Festival and later gained attention for Robinson’s Garden (1987). His 1999 Junk Food was screened in the United States during a research fellowship in New York City, and he has since broadened his Japanese and Western audiences. Yamamoto was last at JAPAN CUTS with Three☆Points in 2011.
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