Kotoba no nai fuyu   2008   Japan Echo of Silence
Echo of Silence Image Cover
Additional Images
Director:Atsuro Watabe
Writer:Yoshikazu Okada, Atsuro Watabe
IMDb Rating:6.9 (20 votes)
Awards:1 nomination
Duration:94 min
Atsuro Watabe  ...  (Director)
Yoshikazu Okada, Atsuro Watabe  ...  (Writer)
Saki Takaoka  ...  Fusako Kurokawa
Atsuro Watabe  ...  Wataru Kadokura
Leona Hirota  ...  Keiko Tadokoro (as Reona Hirota)
Toshiyuki Kitami  ...  Ryoichi Kurokawa
Kazuma Suzuki  ...  Shigeru Mitzuta
Eri Watanabe  ...  Midori Maruyama
Gôta Yashiki  ...  Composer
Natsuyo Nakamura  ...  Cinematographer
Mitsuyuki Shibata  ...  Cinematographer
Hisashi Shimizu  ...  Cinematographer
Ikuko Tamaki  ...  Editor
Comments: Veteran actor Atsuro Watabe's directing debut. It premiered at the 2008 Tokyo International Film Festival, the 2009 Hong Kong International Film Festival, with a 2010 general release in Japan. Watabe hasn't directed anything since then. Ahem.

It's unscripted, complete with boners. And by boners I mean things like: "Was that my line or yours"? left in. It's got shaky-cam delivering the "I just happened to catch this on film" vibe which is endearing, for the most part. The film beautifully captures the actors doing their best "I'm not acting!" acting. It's also got shots of people just sitting there thinking about stuff--against a backdrop of beautiful barren Hokkaido, Japan snow.

The Story

Fusako (Saki Takaoka) works at a stable and also does deliveries for her pharmacist father who is still bumming on his wife's death four years previous. She doesn't have any dreams and seems cool living the Hokkaido life. She smiles a lot. One day Fusako meets a guy who can't speak. Mutual attraction sneaks up on them. There's a merry-go-round for those who like symbolism. A few days later she falls off a horse and suffers retrograde amnesia. Then, I think, both Variety http://variety.com/2008/film/reviews/echo-of-silence-1200471204 and AllMovie http://www.allmovie.com/movie/echo-of-silence-v476508 get it wrong when they say "a narrative reversal ... reveals that Fusako is not entirely what she seems at the outset" and "a sudden accident reveals that Fusako hasn't been entirely honest about herself", respectively. The gun on the table here is the many scenes of Fusako's mobile still not ringing and it still not being him. 'Splain that. But they are right that this is where director manipulation rears it's ugly head.

It's more fun and more sad to WTF your way to the end rather than imposing a Scriptwriting 101 denouement on things. The film's got good production values and talented actors. Leave it at that. Forget the story.

I don't know who made the YouTube trailer, but like almost ALL movie trailers it also gets the story wrong. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0ZYEWdkFc7s


The film should have just stopped at some point instead of trying to wrap things up. It was a lot better at not saying anything--like in the handful of scenes with Fusako, her father, and her totally cute younger Tokyo-model sister, Sachi, sitting around the dinner table shooting the breeze. Often they are joined by their friend, Midori, a cook played by Eri Watanabe who my money says is a professional improv comedienne. She's big. There's one longish scene where she insists on telling the story of Les dimanches de Ville d'Avray (1962) while the other characters laugh and say stuff like: "Stop talking about this" and "What's this all about". Clearly the actors were just mucking about and it made its way into the film. It's a good scene.

Another error both Variety and AllMovie make is crediting (45 year old, at the time) Leona Hirota as Fusako's younger sister, Sachi. IMDb leaves the role uncredited and AsianWiki has single-name actress "Miki" red-linked. I mention this because it bums me out. "Miki" is way cute and quite genuine in her role, and I wanted to find out more about her.

If you like films like Toruso (2010) or 2/dyuo (1997), you'll like Kotoba no nai fuyu (2008).

Summary: In a small town of Hokkaido, Yunni, Fusako Kurokawa (Saki Takaoka), lives a quiet life with her father. Life here is very simple, but it is good enough and she is happy enough. Days go on as usual. with some coincidence, she meets this man one day, Wataru Kadokura (Atsuro Watabe) a man who cannot speak. A very peaceful "time" now becomes part of her daily life as this strong emotion suddenly takes place in her simple quiet life.

One day, Fusako falls from a horse at her work place, a stable. Luckily she suffered no severe injuries and goes back to her daily life. Beloved family and friends around her, as they have always been. She drives the same beautiful road with her Red Cherokee.

Nothing had changed. And she goes on with her simple quiet life again in this small snow-covered town. But one day, driving the same car on the same road as usual, she feels an existence of something like an echo in the corner of her heart. She does not know, what that could be. Doctor has told her on the day of the accident.

"You have lost just a little piece of your memory."

In a snow-covered little town of Yunni, lost memory of Fusako wonders without destination.

Search: AmazonMRQERoviAsianmediawikiHanCinemaWikipediaMetacritic