Fukushima, Mon Amour (Grüße aus Fukushima) (2016)

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Screening as part of the German Film Festival (that finishes this week in Melbourne), Doris Dörrie writes and directs this homage to the Alain Resnais film Hiroshima Mon Amour and a love letter to the people of Fukushima. Shot in black and white, this begins as a slight tale of a German girl, Marie (Rosalie Thomass), trying to escape her memories amongst those cast adrift in the wastelands of Fukushima, two years after the earthquake and nuclear disaster. Continue reading

Our Huff and Puff Journey (2016)

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OUR-HUFF-AND-PUFF-JOURNEY-01This film was likened to Wonderful World End (MIFF 2015), a surprisingly poignant Japanese exploration of identity in contemporary Japan, and I can see it has some similarities. Our Huff and Puff Journey follows four school girls, obsessed with pop band Creep, who set off on their push bikes to get to their concert in Tokyo. Full of obsessive enthusiasm, they don’t seem daunted by the 1000km journey from Fukuoka and only vaguely aware of the repercussions once their parents find out and they have to come home. Continue reading

After the Storm (2016)

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AFTER-THE-STORM-1I was a little tired watching this pleasing Japanese drama. I think if it had been an 11am session and had a coffee in hand I would have engaged with it a lot more. As it was, it reminded me a little of a few others I have seen so far – What’s in the Darkness, The Demons, Harmonium – quiet, observational studies of family life where not a lot happens but we get to understand a little about cultural expectations of parenting, what has led the main characters to the situation they are now in. Continue reading

Madly (2016)

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MADLY-01Madly is six short films, each by a different director and based in a different country. They all explore some aspect of love and are stylistically and emotionally diverse. It’s hard to choose a single rating for six such different films and I struggle with the episodic nature of anthologies of short films; no sooner have you engaged with the story than you have to leave. They are all interesting, the first three – from India, Australia and the US (though directed by a Chilean Sebastián Silva) – are my favourites. Continue reading

Harmonium (2016)

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HARMONIUM-1I’m not really sure what this film was trying to say and it took just a bit too long to not say it. Toshio and Akié are a married couple with a young daughter, Hotaru. One day a neat, quiet man, Yasaka, arrives and Toshio gives him work and invites him to stay in their house. Toshio’s demeanour and offhand furtiveness show that there is more to this connection than meets the eye and his generosity is not necessarily being done through friendship. Continue reading