Sotsugyô   2002   Japan The Graduation
The Graduation Image Cover
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Director:Masahiko Nagasawa
Studio:Engine Network
Writer:Yasuo Hasegawa, Keiko Misawa, Masahiko Nagasawa
IMDb Rating:7.2 (28 votes)
Genre:Drama, Romance
Duration:113 min
Masahiko Nagasawa  ...  (Director)
Yasuo Hasegawa, Keiko Misawa, Masahiko Nagasawa  ...  (Writer)
Yui Natsukawa  ...  Izumi
Shin'ichi Tsutsumi  ...  Mayama
Rina Uchiyama  ...  Asami
Junichi Fujisawa  ...  Cinematographer
Comments: Shinichi Tsutsumi‘s performance of a catatonic social misfit whose soul is so tortured (for reasons never made entirely clear) he can barely speak is so good it spoils a good chunk of the movie. The beautiful Yui Natsukawa wants to marry this guy so I tried to imagine them having sex and couldn’t, pulling the plug on my suspension of disbelief and deflating any drama from that angle. Then there’s the unappealing Rina Uchiyama stalking him. I could imagine them having sex but it might be illegal, if not simply counterproductive to the gene pool, so scratch that angle. All we’re left with is shot after shot of people standing in the rain being serenaded by the worst version of “The Way We Were” you’ll ever hear. There is a decent story hidden in this movie but it’s never made very clear and the plot points we’re treated to just don’t add up. Sorry, Shinichi. Great job but I’m voting thumbs down.

Asami, a junior-college student two months from graduation, lends a red umbrella one day to Mayama, a Psychology instructor. Her artlessly forward approach leaves Mayama embarrassed and confused. She has, in fact, been watching him for some time. Meanwhile Mayama's girlfriend Izumi, unable to find her own place in his heart, has resolved to leave him. Seeing Mayama in torment, tied to his past, Asami decides to set his heart free. Set in present-day Tokyo, this story of the wandering and revival of souls beset by feelings of loss is brought quietly and gently to the screen by the outstanding talent of Nagasawa Masahiko.

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