This film from 2007 first got my interest through the title alone. It seemed so menacing, yet so peaceful. What could it mean?
The synopsis is a woman leads a stressful yet apparently successful life, until one day she wakes up in a psychiatric hospital, strapped to a table. She spends the next couple of weeks trying to piece together the events of the last day that she can remember, and trying to connect with the other patients in the ward. At first it seems like a fairly predictable story in which a sane person is trapped in a mental institute, but before long her memories start to unravel and the story changes direction.
The lead role (Sakura Asuka) is played with the right mix of arrogance and weakness by Uchida Yuki, as she tries to find her feet in her new world. And to my surprise, the cast held two familiar faces. Or at least, two familiar names. The first is Aoi Yu as Miki, the first patient to befriend Asuka, and the second is a great performance by Kudo Kankuro (better known as the writer of Tiger and Dragon and Unubore Deka) as Asuka’s boyfriend. He’s perfect as the wiry nervous TV writer.
Checking on Asianmediawiki, I noticed that the writer, Matsuo Suzuki was also responsible for Koi no Mon. This is certainly much more thoughtful than that enjoyable comedy, and quite different in tone and style although there is the occasional moment of cartoonish humour. This film is smartly written, and nicely structured as Asuka’s memories slowly bubble to the surface, threatening to ruin her recovery.