Tuesday, 29 March 2011

Recommended: Memories of Matsuko

There's probably a whole book you can write about inappropriate or inaccurate comparisons of films on the backs of DVDs. You know the sort - “if Danny Boyle worked with Hitchcock!” or “like The Matrix remade by Terry Gilliam!” Well, I think on the first page of this book, there should be a mention of this film. On the back on my DVD it's described as “an Amelie-esque fairytale” which makes me think that whoever wrote that hadn't seen Amelie. Or heard a fairytale.

The only thing the two films have in common is, perhaps, a sense of heightened realism. Memories of Matsuko is carefully shot, with vivid colours and constant changes in the time period (from the 50's to 2001) meaning that no two scenes look the same.

It tells the story of Matsuko, whose life is slowly ruined by the failures of the men she relies upon. And as she stumbles from one hopeless relationship to the next, the film is quite bleak in showing her decline. The film begins after she's been found dead, and a relative (played by Eita) wants to know more about this aunt who he barely knew about.

Nakatani Miki is incredible in the title role, and really makes you care for Matsuko and hope that her optimism is justified, even though you've seen how she ends up. Eita, too, is great in his role as the slacker who discovers this side of the family that he never knew about.

Despite some of the grim scenes, it's a very sentimental film and often very beautiful and moving. If you don't like crying in front of other people, you might want to watch this on your own.


  1. Best film ever xD The first time I watched it, I knew I had seen something special... and in the period of six months, I watched it a few more times to show it to friends, and the film sneaked in my Top10.

    A few years passed, it's sitting on my Top3 xD

    Nakatani (you got a typo) is out of this world with this... and rightly so. The Taiwan Special edition has an interview, she said Nakashima is brilliant but she would never work with him again. It seems she suffered a lot in the role... kinda like Bjork quitting acting after Lars von Trier! Lucky Nakatani didn't...

    Whenever my friends ask me about this movie, I describe it as Amelie meets Moulin Rouge meets Sin City. xD

  2. Got the typo. Thanks.

    Memories... is a hard film to describe. It's like Amelie, but it's not really. In the review, I was going to say it's shot like a pop video, but then again, it's not. I felt that way a lot. Every time I thought "I can compare it to such and such" I'd then disagree with myself and decide that you couldn't.

    I think that's part of its charm.