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A touching, well-played drama that is easily misunderstood
How can the love between a a man in his eighties and a 18 year-old girl be justified in anyway? Well, if the old weezer has grown so senile that he believe he is 20 year old again, and the love between them is platonic, then perhaps it is possible to make a convincing love story. And that is exactly what Isshin Inudou has given us as a director in this unusually fresh and energetic movie.
80-something year-old Nippori one day wakes up, and believes himself to be 20 years old again, but his body is still rusty and old. As a way to make the audience enter Nippori's state of mind (or "dream" as he defines it himself), Nippori is played by the 24 years old Yusuke Iseya (famous from Hirokazu Kore-eda's masterworks, Afterlife (1998) and Distance (2001), as well as his own production Kakuto (2003)). Yusuke Iseya gives us a convincing and truly great performance as an old man feeling young again. He does the impossible act of showing decay and incapability as well as vigor and ambition at the same time. A 18 year-old helper, Narisu (played by the likewise talented Chizuru Ikewaki), is troubled in her relationship with her brother (not blood-related) and her best friend dating her brother. On the day that Nippori enters his dream of youth, she enters his life as a helper. Nippori immediately falls in love with this angel in spite of her clumsiness and restrained behavior. Narisu is at first shocked by this strange old guy, but then she sees the vigor and energy in the old man. She begins to share his dream. But how will her brother and her best friend react to this relationship?
Instead of lust and passion, this film shows us commitment and true affection. And it does it in a way that is youthful and invigorating. Isshin Inudou shows us Nippori`s young state of mind by using modern fastbeated music and a quirky fresh pace, but most effective of all is the young talented cast that is capable of sincerity as well as entertainment. Kinpatsu no Sougen is well recommended for anybody who believes love to be something beyond sexual encounters.
Isshin Inudou has since written the script for Yomigaeri (2003) and directed the hit movie: Josee, the tiger and the fish (2003) which also features Chizuru Ikewaki, but in a role that is so entirely different that it will make you doubt that it is the same actress.
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