Harada is a successful scenario writer, and his best buddy has just announced an intention to propose to Harada's ex-wife. Recovering from the shock, Harada indulges in melancholy, mainly ... See full summary »
Harada is a successful scenario writer, and his best buddy has just announced an intention to propose to Harada's ex-wife. Recovering from the shock, Harada indulges in melancholy, mainly on his failure as a husband and father, and goes to a 'Rakugo' (sit-down comedy) show, where a friendly man in the audience invites him home. Harada is puzzled at the strong resemblance of this man and his wife to his own parents, who were killed nearly 30 years ago when he was twelve. He visits the couple repeatedly, and greatly enjoys the happy atmosphere there, which was much like his childhood, and such a contrast to his current existence, which is lonely and tortured. But he is no longer alone. The same night his buddy confessed, Harada was visited by Kei, a beautiful woman from the third floor, who is also the only other occupant of their apartment building. She offers champagne and company. Furious with women, he rudely rebuffs her, but she persists, and he later invites her in. That they ... Written by
A difficult book to adapt, but done surprisingly well
Although 'discarnate' was a new word to me, I see it is defined in the dictionary as, 'disembodied', so although seeming a little clumsy as a film title, not totally inaccurate, although they probably should have stuck to the singular. I read 'Strangers' by Taichi Yamada, earlier this year and pondered how difficult it might be to film, not aware that it had indeed already been so filmed twenty years ago. The splendidly spooky book (Ijin-tachi to no Natsu, in the Japanese) was originally published in Japan in 1987 but only translated into English recently. The film itself is very faithful to the book and overcomes the difficulties I foresaw fairly creatively but mainly with the use of shadow. The middle section of the film seems a little flat, whereas in the book we are in the midst of deeply disturbing images both of the main character's deterioration and his friend's 'scars', the film plays this in a more straightforward manner. Nevertheless the film is well paced, has a warmth as well as worry to it and nobody could be disappointed by the rousing ending. A difficult book to adapt, but done surprisingly well.
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