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#NYAFF 2015 reviews – CHASUKE’S JOURNEY, SOLOMON’S PERJURY Part 2, MY LOVE DON’T CROSS THE RIVER

MY LOVE DON'T CROSS THAT RIVER still 3

Our trusted and valued guide through this year’s New York Asian Film Festival, Tanimaru, gives us his closing reviews for the 2015 festival.

CHASUKE’S JOURNEY – this by far was the most entertaining film for me. Chasuke is a tea server in a kind of heaven where scriptwriters craft the lives of everyone in human form. Chasuke is sent to earth to save the life of a young woman and a curious mix of Okinawan mysticism mixes with a case of Chasuke becoming an old fashioned “healer”.

CHASUKE'S JOURNEY -¬ BANDAI VISUAL, SHOCHIKU AND OFFICE KITANO

There is a word in Okinawa, “champeru”, and that is what you have with a cast of characters and unlikely situations that keep the audience entertained from the start. The final msessage at the end seemed a bit too “on the nose” and perhaps a reshoot, but overall CHASUKES JOURNEY is a trip worth taking.

SOLOMONS PERJURY Part 2 – a bit of a let down after the way the director and a very able cast crafted the events leading to the students holding a trial. It seems like the importance of all the episodes leading up to the ultimate court date reduces everyone’s performance to what part they play in the machine of story. Ryoko manages to hold her own in the midst of this plodding, Her eyes deeply searching for the truth.
There are some splendid moments when she confronts one of the students responsible for the letter that launched the trial, and the penultimate scene between the two friends – one, the deceased, and the other, defending the accused, reveals the truth and gets us back to some real drama. Still, if you missed Part 2 and could only see Part 1, you saw the better of the two films..

 

The most touching and genuine of all is MY LOVE DON’T CROSS THE RIVER, a film that showcases the unconditional love

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of an older Korean couple as we watch the husband’s life finally come to an end, leaving the wife to burn the clothes he will wear in the afterlife.

MY LOVE DON'T CROSS THAT RIVER still 1

Beautifully lensed with a hauntingly elegant soundtrack, you are swept up into both their world and that of their extended family – even their pets – and, like their masters, one pet passes on and the other remains to bring more life into the world. I am still touched by this film.

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July 14, 2015 Posted by | ART, CULTURE, ENTREPRENEURS, FILM, HOLIDAY GUIDES, LIFESTYLES, Uncategorized, We Recommend | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

#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.

TAKSU still 2

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.

TAKSU still 1

If you missed it – try to catch it next time.

Before it gets away, here are my thoughts on SOLOMONS PERJURY PART 1:

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.

SOLOMON'S PERJURY PART 1

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.

July 11, 2015 Posted by | CULTURE, ENTREPRENEURS, FILM, HOLIDAY GUIDES, LIFESTYLES, opportunity, Uncategorized, We Recommend | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

   

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