Shinmitsusa   2012   Japan Intimacies
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Director:Ryûsuke Hamaguchi
Studio:ENBU Seminar
Writer:Ryûsuke Hamaguchi
IMDb Rating:5.4 (141 votes)
Duration:255 min
Ryûsuke Hamaguchi  ...  (Director)
Ryûsuke Hamaguchi  ...  (Writer)
Hideyuki Okamoto  ...  Composer
Yoshio Kitagawa  ...  Cinematographer
Hiroshi Suzuki  ...  Editor
Comments: A very rewarding chore. A four+ hour live-action My Dinner with Andre. Tons of manufactured metaphors and theoretical poetry as performance art. It's a movie about a play, and about writing the play. More than anything it's a movie about words. The back half is the play. The front half is the writing. Unsurprisingly, we see how the front informs the back.

There's far too much that can be written about this, I'll just point out a few things I loved, a few things that elevate this so high the insufferable parts melt away:

The musical number. Very Thom Yorke-y. In the middle of a movie/play that's wordy to the max, it's wordless -- insofar as I don't understand Japanese. Maybe the singer isn't singing words. I don't know and don't care. It's pure resonant emotion. Made me cry.

Yuki. In the middle of a wordy to the max movie/play, where everyone seems more concerned about *how* to say something, Yuki shows up as different. She's completely in the moment. Her words come out unconcerned about *how* they are. She doesn't even live on that planet. I wonder if Hamaguchi did that on purpose?

Daybreak. The twenty minute single shot of the main couple walking along the expressway having their *talk*. It starts in the dark, the camera behind them, for the first ten minutes and ends, camera in front, after daybreak. It's stunning, even if the talk is a little uninteresting (some of the time).

Ryūsuke Hamaguchi nails a/the differences in the way men and women think and communicate. And in the middle of it all he gifts us with a character who blurs the line.

Bravo Ryūsuke! And it's not even Happy Hour for me yet!

Summary: Hamaguchi wrote and directed this film as a graduation project for the students at ENBU Seminar (film and theater school in Tokyo) when he taught there. It is a three-part film: The first part is a documentary style production of a play; Then the actual full stage production of the play; and the epilogue. Poetry and written words play the central role in the movie.

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