All posts tagged: friendship



Aki and Naoko are childhood friends who are drifting apart as adults. Immersed in her family life, Naoko now has a husband and daughter; Aki, on the other hand, remains single and is on leave from work due to a personal crisis. The plot might sound familiar but it has never been told like this. The director Kusano Natsuka stages the interactions through an actors’ table-read and, as the lines are repeated, the scenes gradually develop into on-location conversations. Moreover, she repositions the dramatic peak of the story to the beginning: Aki has murdered Naoko’s daughter. Structurally inventive, Kusano’s daring cinema implements ‘distantiation’ effects to get to the heart of friendship issues at times when life has settled. While the repetitions convey the suffocation of role patterns in both friendship and family, a line left out or added in unsettles and reminds us life can take unexpected turns. (IFFR 2018) Kusano Natsuka’s Best Director and SKIP City Award-winning debut Antonym is an intriguing character study of a relationship between opposites, of differences that define the other as the …


LiLOU’s adventure

The movies of Kumasaka Izuru have always seemed to gravitate toward stories about the relationships between unlikely people. In his triple 2005 Pia Award winning debut short film, Coffee and Milk, a 6th grader falls in love with and tries to help a deaf woman 12 years his senior through his photography…and fails. The wins granted him the opportunity to make his debut feature through the Pia Scholarship Program, Asyl: Park and Love Hotel. In it, women from various walks of life form bonds as they find solace at a Japanese love hotel which strangely features a park at its rooftop where residents of the surrounding community have always visited to find respite from urban, Tokyo life–hence the word “asyl” in the title which is German for “sanctuary” or “oasis”. Kumasaka’s handling of these character dynamics garnered him the Best First Feature Award at the 2010 Berlin International Film Festival instantly marking him as “one to watch.” He answered those expectations with LiLOU’s adventure, his second independent feature. The story seems like classic Kumasaka. Set on Okinawa, Lilou, …