A Vietnamese servant girl, Mui, observes lives within two different Saigon families: the first, a woman textile seller with three boys and a frequently absent husband; the second, a handsome young pianist with his fiancée.
Anh Hung Tran
Nu Yên-Khê Tran,
Man San Lu,
Thi Loc Truong
A young man who struggles through life by earning some money with his bicycle-taxi in Saigon (Ho Chi Minh city) gets contact to a group of criminals. They introduce him to the mafia-world ... See full summary »
Anh Hung Tran
Le Van Loc,
Tony Chiu-Wai Leung,
Nu Yên-Khê Tran
In Korea Town Los Angeles, a young man, Kengo, believes he's the son of God - that's what his mother told him since he was a young boy. He spends his days working his dead-end job and ... See full summary »
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 »
Anh Hung Tran
Nu Yên-Khê Tran,
Nhu Quynh Nguyen,
Sachi is the owner of a piano bar. She is a single mother and her son is Takashi. One day, Sachi receives a phone call that her son Takashi died from a shark attack in Hanalei Bay, Hawaii. ... See full summary »
Joong-Rae (In-su Park) and Chang-Wook (Kyeong-ho Jeong) come to the deep forest to bury a body. When they almost finished digging a pit, they find out the body vanished. Myung-Sook (Seo-yun... See full summary »
Upon hearing the song "Norwegian Wood," Toru (Matsuyama) remembers back to his life in the 1960s, when his friend Kizuki killed himself and he grew close to Naoko, Kizuki's girlfriend. As the two try, in very different ways, to contend with their grief, Toru forms a bond with another woman, Midori.Written by
This is only Jonny Greenwood's second film score, following his acclaimed work on There Will Be Blood (2007). Greenwood was keen to score the film as he was a big fan of the novel. His involvement was in some doubt, however, as Thom Yorke wanted to return to the studios to record a new Radiohead album. Greenwood found the time to balance both projects. See more »
The German TV version is 10 min shorter. See more »
Definitely a commendable visualisation of Murakami's reflective novel, this is a thoughtful piece of work which may not be everyone's cup of tea
Those were the best years of our lives. Every once in a while when the weather gets melancholic, we would reminiscence those years when loss and sexuality meant a whole lot more. Every once in a while when we hear a morose tune on the radio, we would recall those moments when relationships mattered a whole lot more. And every once in a while when we watch a moody film, we would remember those times when life played out like a cinematic feature.
All that remains now is nostalgia.
And that is why, critically acclaimed Japanese writer Haruki Murakami's novels spoke to so many people. His works poignantly captures the spiritual emptiness of the modern generation and explores the loss of human connection in the bustling society we live in today. And just when detractors thought that Murakami's bestselling 1987 novel was un-filmable, along comes Tran Anh Hung, whose past works include the award winning Cyclo (1995) and The Scent of Green Papaya (1993).
Set in Tokyo during the late 1960s, the film's male protagonist is Toru, a quiet and serious college student. He loses his best friend to suicide, and his personal life is thrown into turmoil. He becomes emotionally closer to his friend's ex-girlfriend Naoko, who shares the same sense of loss. Circumstances bring Naoko to a sanatorium, and Toru becomes devastated. Another girl, Midori, enters his life, and he realises that she is everything Naoko isn't. Torn between two women and feeling empty about life's past and future, what ensues is Toru's nostalgic journey of loss and sexuality.
The above synopsis probably doesn't do justice to Murakami's writing, which is known to be humorous and surrealistic. While we haven't read the original novel which this 133 minute film is based on, we have chanced upon Murakami's other works, and we must recognize Tran's decision to adapt the story into a feature film.
The first thing which grabs you is the hypnotically mesmerizing cinematography by the award winning Lee Ping Bin (In the Mood For Love, Three Times). The breathtaking mountainous landscapes of Japan are captured on Lee's lenses like gems. You can imagine yourself wandering through the green grasslands and the snowy grounds, letting the spectacle engulf your senses. To replicate the mood of 1960s, production designers Norifumi Ataka and Yen Khe Luguem have painstakingly created scene after scene of the film's characters journeying through life's alleys against backdrops of intricately decorated cafes, workshops and hostel rooms. The result is a visually pleasing mood piece which displays the director's eye for details. The soundtrack composed by Radiohead guitarist Jonny Greenwood completes the viewing experience with an enigmatic score.
Also commendable are the cast's performances. Playing Toru is Kenichi Matsuyama (Death Note's "L"). He has an empathetic vulnerability which leaves a lasting impression with viewers. Rinko Kichuki (Babel) displays the much needed frailty of Naoko's character without becoming overly melodramatic, while newcomer Kiko Mizuhara is charming as the charismatic Midori.
Like most literary adaptation, this film loses some of the novel's poignancy when it comes to character and plot development. Emotions are conveyed through convenient voiceovers, and the exploration of sexuality may appear preposterous to those who uninitiated to Murakami's works. Furthermore, the slow and meandering pacing of the two odd hour film may be a test of patience to some.
It will take audiences who are familiar with the postmodern writer's work to appreciate this film. If you are an individual who often indulges in poetic wistfulness, this may just be the perfect film for you on a contemplative evening too.
32 of 36 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?
| Report this