A few readers have asked me to recommend a few modern Japanese films worth giving up a few hours for. I have 3 to suggest for now, these are perhaps not the most widely watched by the general public, they are probably regarded as strange and boring to many.
If you like action and CGI filled Hollywood blockbusters then I would run away now. The three below are rich in story, character nuances, atmosphere, heart and enchanting settings.
\\ The Woodsman and the Rain
This is a tale that slips and slides from gentle drama to unexpected moments of hilarious humour. The film explores the invisible barriers that divides generations through differences in ethics and outlooks. It looks at the relationships between father and son and the disassociation with nature that city-dwellers show in modern Japan.
Yashuko Kouji puts in a wonderful performance as a rather lonesome lumberjack who inadvertently and reluctantly gets roped into helping out with a low-budget zombie film directed by the floppy-spined and clueless director played by Oguri Shun.
\\ Memories of Matsuko
Matsuko is a woman who has a whole lotta love to give having been deprived of attention and love while she was growing up, she sets out into the world to find her portion of happiness but luck never seems to be on her side.
Matsuko is a woman who has lived many very different lives and so the audience is thrown from one adventure to the next as we watch her try to find someone that can just love her back. Her tale is told through the memories of people she has met along the way and though there are many funny times......it is a tale of heartbreak as she falls deeper and deeper into self-destruction.
The very beautiful and talented Nakitani Miki plays Matsuko
Satomi Kobayashi plays Taeko, a highly strung rather stuck-up city woman who is trying to get a away from it all by holidaying on a quiet island. She ends up meeting an odd bunch of people who partake in a quiet but almost surreal life that involves strange "aerobics" in the morning and engaging in "twilighting" in the evening. Beautiful shot and scattered with profound human interactions, subtle but enchanting humour and such repose that makes the film refreshing to watch and feel.
P.S. I am still unsure about what "twilighting" is but Hiro and my friends seem to get it and tell me that I am really bad at it.
Let me know if you have watched or do watch any of these three films. As always, I love to hear your thoughts.