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Film Critics: Today, December 13, winners from Dallas ForthWorthFCA, ChicagoFCA and Film Comment Magazine. Nominations from HoustonFCS, PhoenixCC. PhoenixFCS.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

カケラ Kakera (A Piece of Our Life)


With this film I was reminded once again how much I like Japanese cinema and how different Japanese movies can be from western films, especially in the lesbian interest genre. I should watch Japanese films more often as most of them are true powerhouses when you want to feel strong emotions. This Momoko Ando debut is a strong emotions roller coaster thanks to a great story, excellent (yet different) leads performances, and an amazing use of silence that’s broken with extraordinary music score. Absolutely an out-of-the-ordinary film and my chapeau goes to Miss Momoko Ando for an intense first oeuvre.

Please don’t let all my praising confuse you, this film is not your regular western film and I strongly suggest you open your mind to a cinema that uses very-close close-ups, pocked face plus stiff body performances, and slowish pace at times; but when it comes to represent and transmit emotions, actors are outstanding as well as the director that creates awesome scenes, like for example, when Riku explodes and yells all her love for Haru in a smokey izakaya full of anonymous salarymen who try to ignore the annoying disturbance Riko’s creates to their meal! Honestly this scene is one of the most uncomfortable scenes I have seen in ages, a scene that allowed me to feel all sort of contradictory emotions. Bravo! And there are other intense emotions scenes along the film plus some remarkable simple (yet puzzling) life and gender philosophy that totally gave me food-for-thought.

Inspired by Erica Sakurazawaga yuri manga “Love Vibes” and with 80% original material, according to what Momoko Ando says in an interview, film tells about Haru, a college student trapped in a dead-end relationship with her cheating boyfriend. One day she meets Riko, a prosthetics artisan, at a café and a door is open in Haru’s life that will bring her into whirlwind change. But the development of Riko and Haru relationship is not an easy one nor goes in a straight line and precisely this is what makes the story very different to what we usually watch in lesbian interest films.

If you know your Japanese cinema you will understand that Ando’s debut film recalls the style of Ozu, who definitively had to especially influence her when deciding on compositions and female actors performances and interactions; still this film is totally contemporary Japanese cinema and most remarkable is the sparse but extremely well used music by James Iha, once with The Smashing Pumpkins.

Have to admit that this film was a huge positive surprise for me and I only hope to find more outstanding Japanese films especially when they totally belong to the lesbian interest genre. Absolutely a must be seen movie for many that read this blog, to those that don’t mind to watch ‘different’ lesbian interest stories and most of all, to those that enjoy good Japanese cinema.

Love the film that came to me after watching so many mediocre films that don’t inspire me to write about them. Maybe after this great rush of adrenaline I’ll be able to write about the huge disappointments I got with much awaited films like The Kids are All Right, Tournee and others. Sigh.

Big Enjoy!!!

Watch trailer @MOC

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