Kevin's mother struggles to love her strange child, despite the increasingly vicious things he says and does as he grows up. But Kevin is just getting started, and his final act will be beyond anything anyone imagined.
Mute Hee-Jin is working as a clerk in a fishing resort in the Korean wilderness; selling baits, food and occasionally her body to the fishing tourists. One day she falls in love to ... See full summary »
Isabel Coixet claims that came up with the idea of Rinko Kikuchi's character when she was promoting The Secret Life of Words in Tokio. Coixet was taking pictures on a walk through the city. She arrived at a fish market and tried to take one of a girl who was cleaning fish. The girl refused to get photographed, so Coixet started imagining possible reasons. See more »
After David joins Ryu at the Love Hotel after cutting his hand, Rinko Kikuchi (Ryu) is laying on a couch. Her shoulder is covered in the two close ups but largely uncovered after the cut where the camera is further from her. See more »
After the final credits there's a short scene with the mysterious plant person in the subway tunnel. See more »
One of less warmly received movies at the 2009 Cannes Film Festival seems to have gotten into competition more on the basis of the director Isabel Coixet's credentials, than actual quality. More or less openly inspired by "Lost in Translation" this Spanish production garnishes a more ambitious route suggesting inner knowledge on Tokio reality, not using it as a symbolic vessel of detachment, but as a well-treaded path following a recognisable motif of a would-be assassin, who falls in love with her prey.
By day a physical labourer on the fish market, by night a contract-killer Ryu (Rinko Kikuchi) is hired out by Japanese CEO Nagara (Takeo Nakahara) to avenge the suicide of his daughter, driven apparently to the brink by a failed love affair (the specific nature of this fall-out is never revealed). The target is Spanish wine-seller David (Sergi López), a slightly overweight love-machine with animal magnetism distraught by the suicide and contemplating the same fate. During research Ryu compulsively happens to chance a short affair with the hapless foreigner, a serious breach of contract...
Told with fluid imagery filled less with noise of Tokio, but more of Japanese renditions of Eastern hits, including a pretty awful karaoke attempt at Depeche Mode by the uninspirational Sergi Lopez. At times sensual Coixet entices with nicely shot frames and lingering emotions, but the unfortunate reality is that the fleeting story of "Map of the Sounds of Tokyo" is a muddled collage of beautiful visuals, which make nice eye candy, but a forgettable movie. Nonetheless the invitation to entertain in the less frequented areas of Japanese movies, like the fish market or the automated hotels, does offer gratification, albeit scarcely sufficient to supplement the plot.
The slowly drifting story also falls into the pitfall of English language usage, as both Kikuchi and Lopez struggle to sell the part, when forced into unfamiliar language territory, given an off-key performance, which creates an awkward distance and ambivalence to the characters as well as dissolves the mood and focus set out by the carefully constructed layers of imagery focusing the mood.
Performance-wise the strongest input is guaranteed by older-timer Nakahara, who given the limited screen-time inputs an unwavering presence, while the opening scene at a sushi restaurant is one of the sole reasons why the picture is actually worth a watch. It essentially also lays out the underlying premise - people come to Japan to input their projections of how the country looks, while Japanese in an attempt to be good hosts adhere to their expectations. Unfortunately Coixet fails to listen to her own advice.
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