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industrialist's Movie Reviews (20)

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4/4

 

Tony Takitani 
The existence of one man in the context of life

With a minimalist approach to a complex narrative dissonance, Jun Ichikawa dissects Murakami Haruki's short story onscreen with a first-class examination of alienation and dislocation, while rounding out his own ouevre with perhaps his most endearing cinematic artefact. The film is bereft of sentimentality yet imbues a sense of nostalgia purely through the elements that comprise its construction, focusing on the evolution of its central character without neglecting the socio-cultural contexts and the quasi-structuralist idealogies of determinism and recursivity.

Like the life of its titular character, the film unfolds even as it advances with a shy and fragmented effort. The frame is bled of color and the characters function in modes of disconnection even in increasing encroachment from their surrounding worlds. It is a digital story in effect, employing photographs, a voice-over narrator and temporal ellipsis to ellicit the meta-notions of a secularly reflexive individual but appropriates the template in a novel fashion. Characters complete the narrator's sentences and the camera (assuredly framed by Taishi Hirokawa) constantly traverses the x-axis, taking us from one scene to the next like a page turning in a book. Rhythmic, tonal and spatial montage are utilized to create beats of abject realization and stoic introspection with closed framing and offscreen space working in harmony with natural performances. There is a skip-forward motion here: an interwoven fracture of past and preset, memories and mind, further evoking the dislocation of its main character from his increasingly irrelevant life. He is a man who exists in isolation yet is absent of ideological pretense.

In spite of this, it is a film of emotional resonance and pragmatism, straddling formalist conventions even as it adopts a constructivist framework to the world of this fascinating character. Witless buffoons in search of lacklustre interactions and shallow recesses are best advised to find the latest Channing Tatum feature.


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