Rikiya Shoda is an engineer working for the Atomic Agency in Japan after spending a few years studying at the MIT. He’s working on a new project involving the creation of laser beams. One day, his wife Nanako, comes back home with a lost teenager called Ayu. A man, who pretends to be Ayu’s father, comes to get her back but Ayu keeps telling him that Rikiya and Nanako are her parents. With this girl entering their peaceful life, Rikiya suddenly begins to remember his youth, when he was a revolutionary. This is a gnomic, mysterious film by Japanese director Yoshishige Yoshida. Told through flashbacks, flashforwards and fantasy sequences, the film examines the life, fantasies and sexual hang-ups of a leftist professor who may or may not be a communist.
A legendary figure of the postwar Japanese cinema, Yoshishige Yoshida (b. 1933) is one of Japan’s most artistically ambitious, politically astute and influential filmmakers. Yoshida is best known for his work with the spellbinding Mariko Okada (b. 1934), one of the most beloved and celebrated actresses of her generation, and one of the great stars of the Japanese New Wave. Working together with Okada, Yoshida created an incredible body of films unparalleled for their formal sophistication, philosophical depth and sheer beauty. Underappreciated in this country, Yoshida is rightly considered in Japan and Europe, and especially France, among the preeminent masters of the modern Japanese art film.
Yoshida’s first passion, and the focus of his studies at Tokyo University, was French existential philosophy and literature, a training which deeply informs the intellectual rigor of his subsequent film work and later writing on film and art. By chance, or destiny, Yoshida was drawn into… read more
This is the first movie I've seen by Yoshida and I'm not sure how I feel about it. I can't say I *enjoyed* it and I can't say I understood it, but I also can't say I didn't like it. I've just never seen anything quite like it. It feels... sterile, the way a doctor's office feels sterile. The compositions and the high contrast photography, it all evokes the air of a world that almost exists, but not quite.
As formally innovative, gorgeously composed, and constantly disorienting as any movie that I can remember seeing. So many of the set-ups and shots could be made into stills that would pass for works of art (from the artfully askew shots of something as simple as people walking down hallways to that mesmerizing bank of repeating TVs). Trying to process the way it collapses time & space (imho) warrants repeat viewings.