A once successful novelist, Maki (Shinohara Yukiko), moves into a new apartment hoping it’s the change she needs to get herself out of her writing slump. However, every time she seems on the verge of an inspired breakthrough, she is violently interrupted by her neighbor’s furious beating of the futons. Day and night, the incessant thwacking drives Maki past annoyance and well into an all-out rage. She confronts the neighbor, Miwako (Ootaka Yoko), and the seemingly small argument snowballs into a fight that gets caught on camera. The video goes viral on social media, and the two inadvertently get caught up in a media storm. But in the ensuing fallout, Maki gets an idea for a novel. (Japan Foundation)
The timing for Amano Chihiro’s movie couldn’t have been more appropriate, hence its success with audiences both on the domestic and international film festival circuit. The story is a simple microcosm the themes of which viewers realize are applicable in various facets of their life and even on a much broader scope. More importantly, it shows how anyone is capable of being the perpetrator as much as the victim. However, it may be surprising to learn she wrote a story about a marriage which, in the context of the movie itself, is the nexus for all its themes of miscommunication and interpersonal relations. As she told the audience at a Q&A during the Tokyo International Film Festival where it world premiered, “Marriage is a bargain between what people are actually feeling and how much of it they are willing to share. If the bargain does not work, the marriage is going to fail[.] This film is actually about marriage as well as about a fight with neighbors.”
The thirty-something writer/director first began studying filmmaking after working at an office for five years. She made short movies while simultaneously working part-time and attending filmmaking courses. These have netted her awards and screenings at home and abroad. Well aware the topics of her movies may lean toward the off-center seriousness particular to indie films, she tries to approach her stories from humorous or fantastic angles. This is not to say the theme is not crucial to her. In fact she starts broadly, telling Pia Film Festival, “the concept swells out from the title and the story is born.” The same was true of Mrs. Noisy. She noticed there are unending “disputes” around us, whether arguments between a friend or family member, to wars between nations. Thinking about why these “disputes” happen became the seed for the movie’s plot.
Mrs. Noisy was scheduled for release in spring 2020, but was pushed back as a result of the pandemic, eventually opening in December of 2020. It is only Amano’s fifth feature-length since she began making movies in 2008. With luck, the attention Mrs. Noisy has gained will open more opportunities for the observant filmmaker to address other matters on her mind.