Tamako graduated from a university in Tokyo, but she now lives with her father back in Kofu. Tamako doesn't help her father or tries to get a job. She spends her time just eating and sleeping throughout the four seasons of the year.
After failing his university entrance examinations and being left by his girlfriend, Yuki Hirano decides to join a forestry training program only to discover that the job is much harder ... See full summary »
A 21-year-old girl is released from prison, only to deal with the neighborhood gossip about her and family conflicts. She decides to save one million yen, move to where no one knows her and keep repeating the process.
One day, after returning from work late in the evening, Hideo witnesses a traffic accident in which a car crashes into a nearby pedestrian, killing the victim instantly. However, despite ... See full summary »
Takemura has no friends and no family. He's a student but he doesn't have any particular ambitions. In other words, he isn't going anywhere fast. Were all this not enough, the sorry sad ... See full summary »
Mizuki's husband (Yusuke) drowned at sea three years ago. When he suddenly comes back home, she is not that surprised. Instead, Mizuki is wondering what took him so long. She agrees to let Yusuke take her on a journey.
Journalist Shuichi Fujii receives a letter from convicted killer Junji Sudo. Writing from death row, Sudo wants to confess to crimes unknown to the police. On visiting Sudo in prison, Fujii... See full summary »
Kenji, abandoned by his mother, scrapes out a meager existence doing odd jobs including driving bar hostesses and their customers home. Besides this he takes care of the sister of an old ... See full summary »
A handsome high school boy begins an affair with an older married woman. When their sex tape ends up on the internet, various lives are changed forever.
The themes of adolescent coming of age, socioeconomic class divisions in Japan, and family dysfunction, are all common concerns of modern-day Japanese cinema. Protagonist Takumi, too damn good-looking for his own good, seems surrounded by women - a doe-eyed classmate, his married sex friend, and a single-mother at a home which doubles as a Natural Birth clinic. Takumi gets to have the unusual experience for a teenage boy of experiencing the sweat, stench and tears of life coming into being first-hand.
The sexual politics are wryly observed and the sexual encounters framed in a manner that strips them of their eroticism and makes them touching and vulnerable. Tomoko Tabata as Anzu is perfect as the needy housewife trapped with a useless husband and a (slightly overdrawn) domineering mother-in-law. Another story intrudes late in the narrative, that of Takumi's friend Ryota (Masataka Kubota). Less blessed in the looks department than Takumi, and with a mother who cares little about her offspring, unlike Takumi's devoted and wise mother, Ryota's fickle mix of jealousy and loyalty towards Takumi proves destructive.
The characters are strong and engaging and the story would draw you in, were it not for the odd decision to structure this as a triptych, with an overlong final third devoted to Ryota's plight. This leaves Takumi and Anzu off-screen for a good half-hour right when we are most interested in seeing their reactions. Cut by at least 20 minutes, and telling all these characters tales chronologically, this would be a much more involving film. As it is the structure is a massive flaw in an otherwise mature and admirable film.
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