After writing about Memories of Matsuko the other day, I decided to try more of director Nakashima Tetsuya’s films. I’d already heard good things about Kamikaze Girls, so I was tempted to watch that, but then the title of this film caught my eye.
I almost didn’t finish this film. Watching the first twenty-five minutes of this film is like patiently listening to a hyperactive child make up a story as they go along. While it resembled Memories... with it’s lush colours and carefully arranged scenes, there seemed to be little in the way of character or plot.
I persevered and, around half an hour in, some kind of storyline began. Put simply, this film is about an ill old man who resents being in hospital while his company does so well without him. He meets a girl whose memory is damaged such that she thinks it’s always her birthday, and she cannot remember anything that happened before. The two become friends, and the old man starts to reassess what’s important in life.
All of this happens in a vivid technicolour set with constant interruptions from the supporting cast. Eventually this style begins to make some kind of sense, but it’s hard going until then. In the end, it’s rather a touching film and it certainly tries every cinematic trick to try and make you cry.
This film is even more hyper-manic than Memories of Matsuko as it bombards the senses with images, music, and colours. This means the performances are somewhat swamped beneath all the costumes and make-up, but if you can get past the bumpy opening thirty minutes, you’ll find a film as sentimental and sappy as any you could ever hope to find.