With the brilliant Vietnamese summer as a setting Vertical Ray of the Sun is beautiful from beginning to end. The plot centres around three sisters, two of whom are happily married (or so ... See full summary »
Tran Anh Hung
Tran Nu Yên-Khê,
Nhu Quynh Nguyen,
A Roma family lives far from the urban centres of Bosnia-Herzegovina. The father Nazif salvages metal from old cars and sells it to a scrap-dealer. The mother Senada keeps the house tidy, ... See full summary »
Due to his Western name, Tony was shunned by other kids and spent a solitary childhood. Though gifted as an artist, his drawings lacked feeling, so as an adult, he carved a career as a technical illustrator. Then in middle age, Tony suddenly falls for a pretty young woman, Eiko Konuma, who visits him one day on business. Eiko is like an angel in Tony's daily existence, and for the first time in his life, he feels connected to the outside world. However, Eiko does have one fault: she's a clothing shopaholic. Confusion also begins to develop when it appears that Eiko has a double. Written by
Sujit R. Varma
A Meditation on Love for People and Objects and the Loss of Both
"Tony Takitani" is the first full length adaptation of a Haruki Murakami tale (the IMDb message board provides a link to an English translation of the story) and it beautifully translates his ethereal prose themes to visuals.
There's his characteristic isolated man, mysterious women who come and go and recur, American jazz and obsessions that all link to Japan's post-war experiences and the prisons we make for ourselves.
The film begins like a narrated slide show as we see biographical images of "Tony" as a child and his father. Gradually, the stills move for longer periods to learn more about each man and focus on "Tony" as a young man who has gravitated to free-lance mechanistic illustration as a perfect professional emotionless counterpart to his internal condition. The characters occasionally take up the narration in almost the only dialog we hear.
The second half of the film explores the nature of loneliness and love. The younger woman he falls in love with literally comes with baggage, as each have a fear of emptiness that they assuage through their own means.
While how she wore her clothes attracted him in the first place, the world is divided between those who are pack rat collectors and those who are not - a division "Tony" thinks he can cross and suppress, only to have those feelings reappear with resonances, with a bit of a spooky reference to Hitchcock's "Vertigo" trying to morph into "Here Comes Mr. Jordan" with almost an O. Henry twist. While most viewers will think the woman's clothes shopping is a fetish (and the montage of her luxuriating in shoe after shoe is humorous), I thought this film was the best since "Ghost World" to make an effort to capture the sensual, addictive feelings of a collector of objects and not as outsiders for an Errol Morris documentary.
As it visually relates her fear of emptiness to the father's and the son's claustrophobic lives, the film lyrically shows how not only is love not enough and how asking one you love to give up something they love destroys love, but the objects themselves will now carry different and unexpected emotions for whomever comes into contact with them.
While Ryuichi Sakamoto's gentle score reinforces this meditation on loneliness, I thought we should have heard more of the father's jazz.
18 of 22 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?