Adapting Haruki Murakami’s breakthrough novel with the romantic melancholy of the Beatles song that gave it its name, Norwegian Wood is a passionate story of nostalgia, loss and awakening sexuality.
Childhood friends Watanabe (Kenichi Matsuyama) and Naoko (Rinko Kikuchi) are reunited in Tokyo in 1969 when they find themselves enrolled at the same college. Their friendship is rekindled, but they are both haunted by a shared tragedy that they would prefer remain shrouded in distant memory. As their affections for each other begin to grow, so too does the spectre of the past. The more their love blossoms, the more the shared history that unites them threatens to tear them apart. Meanwhile, Tokyo is awash with the spirit of political protest. Watanabe is both intrigued by the changing social mores and a bit skeptical. Following the lead of bon vivant Nagasawa (Tetsuji Tamayama), he is lured into a new world of sexual freedom. Taken on a seductive journey through after-hours Tokyo – replete with sex, debauchery and rock and roll – Watanabe meets the beguiling Midori (Kiko Mizuhara), an outspoken and mysterious young woman. Captivated by all she represents, Watanabe’s growing interest in Midori begins to threaten his future with Naoko, forcing him to choose between his passion and his principles.
Letting his camera linger on the uncertainties of subtext and innuendo, Tran distills the idiosyncrasies of different personalities and the intimacies that can flourish between two people. As the two lovers caught up in the intoxicating richness of the era, Matsuyama and Kikuchi deliver arresting performances, striking exactly the right chord between vulnerability and conviction and creating characters that are flawed, stubborn, guileless and, ultimately, powerful. A bittersweet tale full of beauty and pathos, Norwegian Wood illuminates the uncertain passage from innocence to maturity. –TIFF
Trần Anh Hùng (born December 23, 1962) is a French film director of Vietnamese ancestry.
He was born in Đà Nẵng, Central Vietnam, and emigrated to France when he was 12 following the fall of Saigon at the end of the Vietnam War in 1975.
Being exposed to and loving classic films, Tran indicated the immense effect they had upon spurring his film-making desires. Admittedly, Bergman, Tarkovsky and Kurosawa all had a hand in the evolution of his directorial aspirations.
His Oscar-nominated debut (for Best Foreign Film) was with the The Scent of Green Papaya (1993) which also won two top prizes at the prestigious Cannes Film Festival, and his followup Cyclo (1995) featured top Hong Kong movie star Tony Leung Chiu Wai, also eventually nabbing a top prize at the Venice International Film Festival. The Vertical Ray of the Sun, released in 2000, was the third film in what many consider now to be his “Vietnam trilogy.”
After a sabbatical, it… read more
Recurring internal voice - 'Is that it?' Normally don't really like comparing films to books, just because they are meant to be different, but the fact that this film was a ten times more basic version of the novel,l kind of just forces you to either stop thinking and look at the pretty picture, or dislike the film altogether. A bit too simplistic basically. Good job on the cast though.
A film of unspeakable, abysmal suffering that we are only allowed to witness through distant vignettes; a perfect allegory for the disconnect between the characters and their hopeless, futile attempts to understand and console each other. An essential coming-of-age drama.
Critics will grant Tran his beautiful moments, but they’ll also argue that they don’t add up.
"With his striking visual sense and gift for conjuring a mood of languid sensuality, Tran Anh Hung would seem the ideal filmmaker to tackle
Following Round 1 on Tuesday and Round 2 yesterday (with the titles slated for the Orizzonti section), we now have the nearly-but-not-quite
I´ve never seen such a terrible and painful adaptation like this Norwegian Wood. Haruki Murakami´s novel, even if full of literary references, is still an easy or accessible book what, I knew, could… read review
In Norwegian Wood, Haruki Murakami crafted the college years of Holden Caulfield—a spirit of universal self-identification that made the novel a cult favorite for those who felt something… read review
I went into this film with a great deal of excitement. At first glance, it had a lot going for it: I’ve enjoyed what I’ve seen from Tran Anh Hung thus far; Mark Lee Pin-Bing’s cinematography is never… read review
Refroidi ces dernières années par quelques films asiatiques traitant eux aussi du deuil et de la nécessité d’avancer (les interminablement douloureux La forêt de Mogari et Secret Sunshine), je me suis… read review