Kikyû kurabu, sonogo   2006   Japan Balloon Club, Afterwards
Balloon Club, Afterwards Image Cover
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Director:Sion Sono
Studio:Plusmic CFP
Writer:Sion Sono
IMDb Rating:7.0 (72 votes)
Duration:93 min
Sion Sono  ...  (Director)
Sion Sono  ...  (Writer)
Motoki Fukami  ...  Jiro
Yukie Kawamura  ...  Midori
Tomoharu Hasegawa  ...  Murakami
Hiromi Nagasaku  ...  Mitsuko
Tamae Ando  ...  
Noriko Eguchi  ...  
Fujiko  ...  
Issei Ishida  ...  
Masatoshi Matsuo  ...  
Mayuko Nishiyama  ...  
Hitotoshi Uchiyama  ...  
Yoshiaki Yoza  ...  
Yasuomi Ôta  ...  
Sôhei Tanikawa  ...  Cinematographer
Jun'ichi Itô  ...  Editor
Tamae Andô  ...  
Yukiya Oonishi  ...  Yuuki
Jyonmyon Pe  ...  
Comments: I've waited almost 10 years for subtitles so I could watch another of my favorite actresses, Hiromi Nagasaku, starring in a Sion Sono directed film: Balloon Club, Afterwards. I was not disappointed. It's a "smaller" Sono film, but he does something so self-aware and meta that it made me love him even more. Basically, I divide Sono's films into two categories: Those where most of the characters SCREAM most of their lines; and those where they don't. The former suck, the latter don't. He makes the mistake of thinking SHOUTING provides more emotion. It doesn't. It's like writing in ALL CAPS.

Anyway, in Balloon Club, Afterwards, there is one character who shouts all his lines to the point of self-conscious hilarity. Sono winking at us.

In contrast to the shouter there is the lovely, and quiet, Hiromi Nagasaku, but there's also the guy she toys with who acts all his scenes as if he just woke up. His is a wonderful performance.

The film is about the former members of a college Balloon Club who get together to commemorate the death of the founder of the club--who was also the only member to actually fly in a balloon). He had been designing a giant, giant, ginormous balloon. Some silly girl thought it was an awesome idea and Hiromi asks her if she thought it was cool for a balloon to be that "Stupidly Huge!" Well played Hiromi. Thank you.

I might not recommend the film to the general public, but if you like Sono--and NOT just his crazy stuff--this is a must see (if you can find it). Sono gets this kind of material. It's all metaphorical about growing up, saying goodbye, and understanding that most of what you believe in sincerely is a myth. He's a sensitive guy as well as batsh!t cRazy. I don't think he should stop making films where people scream all the time. He needs to do that too. I'm comfortable with the fact that I'm just not going to like all his films.

Summary: A bitter-sweet drama about former members of a college balloon club saying goodbye to their youth. It's a sensitively directed, if occasionally stagy film, with a stand-out turn by Hiromi Nagasaku as the frustrated lover of the self-absorbed club founder. ~Mark Schilling @JapanTimes

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