|2011 Japan River|
I'd like your recommendation to stand without airing my less than enthusiastic response in public because I think it's a film people should see ....
I'd highly recommend the film as well, for most all the reasons you mention. But I thought it seemed cobbled together and a little lugubrious, with a silly part in the middle.
We know Hiroki originally intended to make a film about the Akihabara tragedy (some guy ran his truck into a crowd and started stabbing people), then 3/11 happened and he felt compelled, or that he had an opportunity. The images he captures are harrowing.
In a way, it must have seemed a wonderful opportunity to contrast survivors of man-made and natural disasters? But that's where the silly part comes in: the "What is Reality" discussion that links them. I didn't think either of the actors were able to handle that, elevate it above eye-rolling dialog. Misako Renbutsu is extremely nice to look at, and does very well with the long takes, especially the last scene, and the many others where the camera stays still, trained on her flawless complexion while she behaves pensively.
I was made grumpy several times by the handheld bouncing camera, however. It doesn't usually bother me, but here it did. And I'm sure there is social metaphor surrounding Renbutsu looking hot in the little maid getup, but ....
Summary: Hikari (Misako Renbutsu) lost her boyfriend after a random killing that took place in Akihabara. Afterwards, Hikari feels a great sense of loss and shuts herself off from the world. She doesn't leave her home. Finally, with the help of those around her, Hikari is able to regain stability in her life bit by bit. She then goes to Akihabara and roams around. Meeting people there, who are going through their own difficult situations, Hikari is able to begin moving her life forwards.