Original Title: Kiraware Matsuko no isshô
Starring: Miki Nakatani, Eita, Yûsuke Iseya
Directed by: Tetsuya Nakashima
Written By: Tetsuya Nakashima
Rating: NR (US) Running Time: 2 hr 10 min
The director Tetsuya Nakashima has so much imagination and is so good at creating beautiful and stunning images that it’s a wonder his films don’t explode! This film is just dazzling. His eye-popping use of colour and extreme use of sound effects and musical numbers give your eyes and ears a real treat. The film bursts forth like a fireworks display and is just marvelous to behold. The story is very tragic and sounds grim when detailed but be assured it’s a wonderful over-the-top and energetic romp.
A young man finds he has an aunt who has died and is ordered by his father to take care of her belongings. Whilst in her old flat where she tried to hide from the world, and attempted to eat and drink herself to death, he meets people who were touched by his mysteriously murdered lost aunt. Through characters recounting and narrating passages from her life we witness all the bad factors and decisions she makes that brought her to her demise. Her brother states her life was “meaningless” but we discover through multiple flashbacks and side stories what meaning she did bring to many.
This sounds hard hitting and we do see her shunned by her father in favour for her sick sister and how a student gets her fired from her teaching job. How an abusive boyfriends leads her to prison to then finally end up being a shut in obese crazy woman sitting in her own rubbish. But we also see the highs of her life, her passion and happiness are so vivid and we are taken into musical bouts of singing and have animated birds follow her into fantasy worlds.
To keep it on the light side the film is played for laughs and is very over the top and silly. You would almost be worried the film was being too flimsy and uncaring for our poor heroine if it wasn’t for the films great ability to keep punctuating the film with dour moments that linger just long enough to sober us up. It dazzles and entertains while its leads to a very sad but satisfying conclusion. The main actress, Miki Nakatani, is superb in her many incarnations and physicality and all the supporting characters are well-played and memorable. Her willingness to please and find love goes wrong over and over but she keeps on picking herself up. Her tale is like many of ours; life deals you bad cards but you need to keep going and hope it gets better. It’s a hell of a ride – seen through a rose-tinted,vibrant and energetic lens that bristles with life and hope.
See if you fancy a fresh and emotional treat. This vibrant and energetic tale of the life and sad times of a woman is presented in a vivid display of cinematic tricks that will leave you breathless.
HD TV with surround sound to fully immerse yourself.
Best moment for me: << spoiler! >>
The end where we leave her body and float along the river she loved so much, past her younger and younger self. We float through her life back to her house and up the stairs, up and up we go to heaven and her poor long-suffering sister. “I’m home”. It’s hard not to shed a tear in the finale of this manically energetic and artistically wonderful film.
References: Rotten Tomatoes