A most promising directorial debut. Kumasaka totally gets pace, look, and feel. And he knows how to get good performances from his actors. This film is deliberately indie, not de facto. It's masterfully crafted and hits the sweet spot right in the middle of joy and sorrow, melancholy and hopeful. Bravo all over this film. It's not perfect but it screams talent. I wish the film would have ended at about the 85 minute mark and just left me with: "you've met these four women, they have much inside that makes them sad. Hope you enjoyed meeting them. bye bye for now" ... but the director chose to add a final act that opens up their lives, allows for some small transformations, explanations, and a turning face up on the table of the symbolism cards. Rookie mistake, or he's just a positive guy. Can't wait to see what he does next.
A haven for clandestine lovers turns out to be more than most passers-by would imagine in this independent drama. The Parku Ando is a "love hotel" in Tokyo's Shinjuku district where couples can rent a room by the hour for romantic assignations. However, few of its regular customers seem to come there for sexual encounters; the hotel has become a hangout for rootless teenagers, senior citizens looking for a place to relax, and kids who play under the watchful eye of manager/owner Tsuyako.