January 11, 2018No Comments

Radiance – Naomi Kawase – 2017

Maker of one of the most poetic Japanese films from nowadays, Naomi Kawase is a force pulling me unconditionally towards her films. I usually give critical passes to directors I love and that was the case for Kawase’s previous, Sweet Bean. This time, I just can’t. Radiance, her latest film, although based on a great premise, made me fret with impatience and discontent in the cinema, last night. 

The story kicks off in a fantastic niche - a young woman working as a description-maker of films for the blind is in conflict with the focus group of visually-impared people that help her achieve the best version for her text. There’s a love interest with one of the people there, an ex-photographer going blind. Soon enough though, the script looses focus, and the direction gets lost in style. First off, the original score becomes quickly unbearable: a selection of unrelenting melodramatic piano themes. The characters behave incongruous, like loose teenagers. The overall feeling is that of a project assembled after receiving financing. 

November 29, 2016No Comments

Hanezu, Naomi Kawase, 2011

Naomi Kawase is a director coming from Japan. She’s simply awesome. Actually, she’s more than a film director, she’s a poet. Hanezu is more a poem than a film. In it, a sculptor has a relationship with a married woman. Everything is calm, they meet, they’re delicate. The sculptor has a nest of sparrows in the ceiling of his house. At her house, the woman has a bird in a cage. A mythological love story between mountains is intertwined. Because Kawase filmed and edited the movie itself, the movie has an eerie feel. There are images of flowers, of bugs crawling on the grass. Everything mounts to a feeling.

Hanezu, at times, feels like the Japanese version of a W. Herzog movie.

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