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.