Day came around again with
even more to say
Today was International Women’s Day. I wonder how it was marked in Japan. I haven’t had time to look it up. Yesterday was International Book Day. In the spirit of both, I have not yet taken up The Tale of Genji, considered the world’s first novel, written by a woman (haha, you might have thought there that I’d say I did given the day that it was, but no) but I will soon enough.
I’m quite busy at the moment with not much time to read and when I do have time I pick up the books I’m currently in the middle of – one being a wonderful book about the history of colours.
I finally got around to watching After the Storm (its original Japanese title is Umi yori mo mada fukaku – Even deeper than the sea) renting it from one online source after a real torturous waste of time downloading it for rental and then trying to enjoy it from another source.
As for the film itself, where the main character is coincidentally a struggling writer – cool but accidental choice for International Book Day – it was good but not as good as I thought it would be I’m afraid.
It was quite a while before we got to the protagonist Ryota’s important scenes with his son and his ex-wife Kyoko with whom he is trying to reconnect (but she has moved onto a guy who’s the complete opposite of Ryota, which is probably why she chooses him but he’s not that nice).
Still, the main actor, Hiroshi Abe, is very good as the struggling writer earning a wage as a private detective to keep himself (barely) going. He has the right mannerisms for such a role. He doesn’t seem all that likeable at times and is seen as unreliable, but the final scene in the pawn shop is quite touching and shows his integrity which might not be otherwise obvious.
The first time I saw him was in a drama called The man who cannot get married. A good drama with a few laughs, supported by another Kore-Eda regular, Yui Natsukawa.
Kiki Kirin, who sadly died a few months after the win at Cannes last year for Shoplifters, plays his mother who is hoping he gets back with his wife.
The actress Yoko Maki, who plays Kyoko, has had a lead role in another of Kore-eda’s – Father and Son (maybe she’s in one or two more? I’m not sure)
She’s also in a funny comedy drama I once watched called The Best Divorce (though I never did get back to finishing that).
Lily Franky, who’s in Shoplifters and Father and Son plays his detective agency boss who says a really cruel thing to him at one point about his efforts to reconnect with his son, at which point you really feel for Ryota.
Films aside, I saw him more recently as a somewhat incompetent, eccentric morgue attendant in the drama, Crow’s Blood, that I mentioned a while ago.
Hirokazu Kore-Eda likes to stick with actors he knows will do the job well. And why not? These actors are very good and are clearly suited to Kore-Eda’s films.
Well, I hope to see Shoplifters soon. I’m looking forward to that.