Of course it's from Japan. Do you really expect anything else from me?
This is a very different japanese film, much more in the vein of Ikiru than my usual love of kaiju and samurai films, but it's certainly worth tracking down and viewing. This is a slice of life film with two elderly parents visiting their children in Tokyo and spending time with them. It's not a very complicated plot but it's such a rich film in character interactions and performances. You may notice very quickly the film has a unique set up of framing, each shot is not levelled as if you were standing but as if you were sitting, it's about a waist high shot which makes sense because much of the film takes place in the home of these characters and they are generally sitting on the floor as they converse with their family. Also something I noticed is there are lots of shots from a certain point of view, we see characters talk directly into the camera which puts us in the viewpoint of another person, it's not a usual over the shoulder set up. So it's definitely unique in style but the reason why it's so good is because well, it's very relatable. It's very common, family members from out of town are coming to stay for a few days, everyone can immediately recognize that so it really doesn't take that much for you to identify with and enjoy the story. The characters feel like a real family, and I identified a lot with them and very much enjoyed their company as if I was invited into their home. I can't name too many movies that accomplish such a feeling. It's just such a nice film with some fine dialogue concerning life, the future, children, and most important family. And it brought to mind many memories of my own family, which simultaneously deepened my enjoyment of the film and yet made it somewhat difficult to watch. There was a strong bond between an in-law Tomy and our main couple Shukichi and Noriko that brought back floods of memories with my grandparents, just the level of happiness and love that she had for them and always wanted to spend time with them struck very deeply with me. And the final conversation between Tomy and Shukichi is very meaningful and an open expression of emotion, it's definitely the highlight of the film. It's good to see a movie like this, it's nothing big, it's nothing complex, it's just about life and life is pretty interesting. Which is ironic because one could say life is very big and complex and they would be correct, but just to see a down to earth, simple but lovely little slice of life from one family amongst billions is never a bad thing to experience. A wonderful movie that deserves a full 4 stars, 8/10, I definitely recommend it. But what film from Japan haven't I loved and recommended? Yes, I'm heavily biased and have a soft spot for that island but it's always been there in some form or fashion since the beginning.
Next week will just be 2 reviews, but I'll try to go out on a high note.