Tennen kokekkô (2007)

18 03 2008

Another subtle, extremely poignant feature from Nobuhiro Yamashita, though not quite eclipsing his previous film, Linda Linda Linda. He seems to be occupying a stylistic and thematic space ignored (or simply undiscovered) by his peers. This isn’t to say he’s a particularly innovative director, in fact one could argue the opposite, but the very easygoing, almost carefree nature of his films is quite refreshing. It would be no surprise if that, at this very moment, he is inspiring a generation of imitator with his likable and innocent poetic sensibility.

Soyo lives with her family in a very secluded rural region. Her school consists of ten people, and all of her classmates are younger than her until Hiromi moves from Tokyo. He’s personified as the experienced newcomer from the big city, and being the only boy in class, giggles are bound to occur behind his back. He eventually is befriended by Soyo, but their relationship is plagued by a series of awkward coincidences. In the meantime, similar relationship complications are brewing with the adults of the town.

Describing the plot of this a bit unexciting, it’s built more around moments than it is about a progressing stor. For the most part, the film is built around events like a first kiss, going to the beach, a town festival, and so on. It’s not completely unlike Naomi Kawase’s Shara in that sense, though it doesn’t match the sprawling multi-character approach of that film. Instead, the focus is centered on the young couple, Soyo and Hiromi, who both get a bit irritating at times. Of course, they are young and in love so expressing emotions in a sensible way is difficult but perhaps there’s not enough depth provided to explain why they would be together in the first place. Don’t get wrong, though, some of the aforementioned “moments” they are share are extremely truthful but within the film’s context feel a little bit odd.

This a minor, very nuanced compliant, though as I pretty much like everything else about the film. In an era, where cinematic poetry mostly amounts to Malick imitations, Yamashita takes a completely different route. Now, there are shots of grassy fields and voice overs but I find the overall tone to be intentionally different but equally effective. Perhaps it’s the more slow-downed long static compositions that separate it but I’d like to think there’s something not dealing with the overall aesthetic that contributes to this mood. The inconsequential, laid-back manner is probably a big help, as well, but I find that such descriptions wash out just how close to home this can hit. It has a painful truth inside wrapped inside the downplayed poetry, which is present on the surface.



One response

7 06 2008
Michael Kerpan

This is a film I liked so much that I can’t be bothered about looking for (or worrying about) problems. ;~}

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: