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20 MOVIES in 1 month challenge: 13/20

Next reviews: 30+ Single on Sale, Okja, Bloody Monday S1, Heroine Shikkaku, The Beauty inside, Terra Formars, Ayashii Kanojo, Secret Message, Vancouver's Asahi, Onmyuji ~The Yin Yang master~, Onmyouji II, Hajimari no uta, Dive to the future, The professor and his beloved equation, The Commitment, Maison Ikkouku 1,2; Very ordinary couple; Rurouni kenshin ~Kyoto inferno~, Attack on titan 1,2; I have to but new shoee;

Currently watching: Bloody Monday S2, Karei naru spy, Brilliant Legacy

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Friday, November 29, 2013

Au revoir l'été (2013)


Country: Japan
Format: movie
Genre: slice of life
Cast: Nikaido Fumi, Tsuruta Mayu, Taiga, Furutachi Kanji, Sugino Kiki, Otake Tadashi, Koshino Ena,
Synopsis: Sakuko decides to accompany her aunt Mikie on a summer holidays to go to the seaside town where her other aunt lives. Within one week she meets many different people and comes to understand their problems. Stuck in age where she is no longer a child and not yet an adult, she sees the difficult lives of becoming an adult.
Rating: 3/5
At first I thought of not watching this movie, but because Yanne kept going on about it I bought the tickets, only to find out that she just had the mood at that second. I think I would not have been sad if I had missed it.

The main character, as much as there can be a main, is Sakuko. The reason why she does not seem as much of a main character is that she is the by-stander, through whose eyes we see  things, but at the same time she does not give her own opinions and views on things. Some moments I even felt that maybe she does not understand all situations or maybe she just does not care. She is the only character whose thoughts I was unable to see in the movie, expect when it came to Takashi. I know that it was intended way to portray her to bring out other stories, but about herself we get to know only a little. With this one week she is able to broaden her horizon. Nikaido Fumi has been acting in many interesting but sadly unpopular movies in recent years, which I hope to watch one day. It looks like she has more possibilities to show her talent in other movies than in "Au revoir l'été".
Takashi is younger than Sakuko. He moved to the city after the nuclear power station leak in
Fukushima, but he also has other reasons why he does not want to return to Fukushima. He is Ukichi's nephew and is working at his hotel. For the first time he is getting interested in girls and from the first experience he learns that love is not so easy as it looked like. He is more of a timid person than socially awkward and that keeps him from making friends fast. The fact that he has a bad head for studying and he would rather earn money than go to school, has left him with no friends in this city.
Aunt Mikie was actually most likeable character for me, because she was true to herself. She was person to look up to - smart, beautiful, decent. She did the job she loved and she had seen the world. It felt like she knew the value and impact of every decision she ever had to make and I find it amazing when person understands it and accepts it. It makes me feel like even when they are given the chance to do something differently over again, they would not change a thing about the past.
There are also Ukichi and his daughter Tatsuko. At first it is said that Ukichi liked other aunt, but as the story unfolds it comes clear that he more has had unanswered feelings for Mikie. Ukichi has always been on the wrong side of laws and that is why him being the manager of undercover "love-hotel" does not come as a surprise for most of the characters in the movie. His daughter Tatsuko says she despises him, because he always brings trouble and blames him in mother's death, but when she is with him, she is acting just as an grown up child who has no anger towards her father. For me it was another conflict in the movie. Maybe the reality is that most people are two-faced and I am just unable to see it. Sugino Kiki has played in Fukuda Koji's last movie "Hospitalite" too and she was the producer for both movies.
Nishida is Mikie's friend, but when I understood it right, they are having some kind of affair, even though Nishida is married and has children. He wants to keep his good image in front of publicity, but actually he is not model-adult at all. His words and actions are never the same when he has to protect his position. He might easily talk how wrong is adultery and then ask how about going to the hotel together.
The Director Fukuda Koji also was present at that movie premiere, so again he was able to answer some questions like what are the most important messages in the movie. The main point what he wanted to express with this movie is that we should think more about nuclear power and its usage. Even though he himself is against it, he tried not to take sides in the movie. I do not know if how much you can see it in the movie, because it is only one part of it. Other thing is to show the social problems in Japan as places like "love hotels" are usual.
I will be honest and say that I am not a fan of this movie - it started and ended, but the story line seemed missing. I understand when the movie would have shown something that had changed someone's life or had a deeper meaning, but in every way it just shows a part of Sakuko's summer vacation. But it proved that I could never be a real movie-critic as Fukuda Koji won the Best Director award on this film festival.


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