Believing that the world will end that very day, three mental patients Coco, Tsumuji, and Satoru set out upon a journey. Walking upon the tops of the walls of the city, they seek to find a ... See full summary »
Believing that the world will end that very day, three mental patients Coco, Tsumuji, and Satoru set out upon a journey. Walking upon the tops of the walls of the city, they seek to find a picnic spot with the best vantage point to view the final event. Written by
This work by Iwai Shunji shows the strengths of the short film genre. Valuing atmosphere and cinematics as much as plot, it avoids the trap many primarily visual movies fall into by being just the right length to catch and hold the viewer's attention. Iwai is at his best here, showing his Christopher Doyle influences (and, thankfully, not his earlier TV-directing influences). He has also managed once again to pull exemplary performances from the cast.
The story itself follows three psychologically disturbed people who leave their institution on a misdirected quest. Beyond that it is difficult to avoid saying too much, as, after all, this is a short film and hence has an appropriately short script.
While Iwai Shunji's earlier works lie among the dregs of Japanese cinematography, Picnic (as well as Swallowtail) should elevate him to the status of one of Japan's best modern directors. One can only hope that he can continue making works of this superb quality.
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