Eye On


Aristocrats feature image

Hanako and Miki come from different walks of life. While Hanako has enjoyed a privileged upbringing and a luxurious lifestyle, filled with social functions among Tokyo’s wealthy elite, Miki has had to blaze her own path, coming to the capital from a small town and building a career in event planning. Yet, neither woman can be said to be completely free from troubles; Hanako’s familial pressures to marry and follow standards of behaviour are equalled by Miki’s financial problems which force her to drop out of a prestigious university. When their paths are set on a collision course over the affections of aristocratic lawyer Koichiro, both realise that there may be another path available to them. (Institute of Contemporary Arts)

Sode Yukiko

Screenwriter and director Sode Yukiko has made three features since 2008. Her debut Mime-Mime premiered at the Vancouver International Film Festival. She directed her second feature in 2015, Good Stripes, which examined Japan’s modern practice of couples committing to marriage only after there’s a pregnancy. In 2020 she made her third feature, Aristocrats. Drawing on Yamauchi Mariko’s novel of the same title, Sode delves into the social stratum of contemporary Tokyo through the lives of two women on seemingly opposite trajectories. It was selected to compete in the Big Screen Competition of the International Film Festival Rotterdam as well as screening at the 2021 Hawai’i International Film Festival. Rather than focus on the theme that “the grass is always greener on the other side,” Sode was interested in accepting differences while sympathizing with the other party. “[W]hen I read Mariko Yamauchi’s original novel I thought it is interesting that women of different types can sympathize with each other because, as women, they face similar hardships. I found that to be understandable. So, when I turned it into a film, I wanted to attach importance to the sense of distance in which ‘you’re over there, I’m here, and that’s okay.'” (JFF+ Interview)