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Megane (2007)

Taeko is a stressed career woman who leaves her life in the city for an island vacation. The vacation does not become what she expected as everyone on the island is strange.

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1 win & 1 nomination. See more awards »

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Cast

Credited cast:
Satomi Kobayashi ... Taeko
Mikako Ichikawa ... Haruna
... Yomogi (as Ryô Kase)
Ken Mitsuishi ... Yuji
... Sakura
Hiroko Yakushimaru ... Taeko's friend
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Ken ... Koji
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Taeko is a stressed career woman who leaves her life in the city for an island vacation. The vacation does not become what she expected as everyone on the island is strange.

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Comedy | Drama

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22 September 2007 (Japan)  »

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Briller  »

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Referenced in 'Megane' kôkai kinen tokubetsu bangumi (2007) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Focus on Escapism
31 July 2012 | by See all my reviews

Have you ever wanted to escape the banality of your daily, stressful routine and venture to an unreachable island? It's an almost universal desire – one which has been covered in a few different ways over the years in cinema. There is the light-hearted approach of traveling to an 'exotic' land, or lands like in the huge commercial success Eat, Pray, Love (2010). Then, there are tales which show a plan to retreat gone wrong such as the dark, independent film 'Martha, Macy, May, Marlene' (2011) or more well-known 'The Beach' (2000).

Director Naoko Ogigami's black comedy 'Glasses' ('Megane' in Japanese, pronounced may-ga-neh) falls under a new category. The 2008 Sundance Film Festival entry is neither superficial nor dramatic and follows Taeko, a middle-aged academic professor, searching for a few peaceful days on an unnamed island. There's something charming about her destination but its inhabitants – who all wear glasses – have weird routines she doesn't appreciate.

Arriving at the inn, Taeko's stiff modern image reflects her personality: she's an antisocial career woman who hopes that abandoning her phone connection will bring her the rest she's seeking. She expects to be served and pampered but instead is faced with characters who continue to invade her personal space.

The inn's proprietor Yuji (Ken Mitsuishi) fails to pick up her suitcase as she enters and later annoyingly joins her for meals. In the morning an older woman, Sakura, stares at her while she sleeps to wake her up. Perplexed and surprised, she engages with them out of courtesy. Twilighting, an activity that seems to involve staring at the sky for hours and contemplating, is their favorite bizarre pastime.

This is not her idea of a retreat, so she leaves. But sleep-watching Sakura goes looking for her and Taeko returns, realizing the island is not so bad after all, and finally drops her hostile attitude. It's somewhere here that a delightful journey of self-discovery begins.

'Glasses' is the director's criticism of modern societies. The expressive cinematography; long beautiful shots of life's simple pleasures like watching the ocean, playing the mandolin, preparing and eating and good food, hypnotizes the audience into a contemplative state along with the film's characters.

Visually, people and nature merge perfectly in this purposefully slow-paced film, Ogigami's seventh as director. Complementing the mesmerizing landscapes is a script bursting with absurd wit and dark humor.

Unlike other films about escapism 'Glasses' didn't make the headlines for boosting tourism in Japan; this is not an attention-seeking picture. Spend 106 minutes with these characters. You might not jump on your computer to book a holiday but you may forget about life's troubles for a while.

Find all of our film and festival coverage, as well as our events and education at www.DohaFilmInstitute.com. Follow us on Twitter @DohaFilm.


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