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10 days to watch
385 Ratings



Directed by Natsuka Kusano
Japan, 2019


Aki has just confessed to murdering the daughter of her longtime friend, an episode that occurred while taking care of the child in the mother’s absence. Shifting the action to a rehearsal room, a series of script readings are undertaken in order to trace the backstory of the tragic incident.

Our take

Never before had a film been so enigmatic and transparent at the same time. Domains makes use of an unexpectedly captivating structure to stage an utterly original dissection of performance, disguised as a tale of female friendship with hints of procedural drama. Don’t wait for an American remake!

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Critics reviews

The film contains an enigmatic power for all its obstinate denial of convention—just because these are rehearsals (or readings and re-readings) shouldn’t suggest sloppy form, for Kusano’s lighting and framing is as precise as in a Kiyoshi Kurosawa film, whose distinctive uncanniness is occasionally suggested throughout Domains.
January 27, 2019
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What are people saying?

  • Margit Keerdo-Dawson's rating of the film Domains

    Can’t recommend this film and can’t recommend it enough. A film that’s not a film; compelling and boring, cold and emotional. A fascinating experiment and experience (but I would only recommend watching it if the first scene grabs you) I was so bored I did my ironing while I watched and so enchanted that it made me cry, strange strange strange (but special) meta film.

  • Cassia Watakabe's rating of the film Domains

    After reading her confession, the officer asks the assassin if she has anything to say and about the letter she wrote to her friend, so she begins to deconstruct the previous facts. The repetitions of the dialogues begin with the reading of the scripts without emotion. I believe that these repetitions are inside her mind, she tries to block the moment of the tragedy and this cycle prevents the memory of the events.

  • sanjeev.tiwari's rating of the film Domains

    Deconstruction of a murder story or rather any story through stage rehearsals is something I have never seen in my life before. Repeated reading of script might sound excruciatingly boring but that’s where the filmmaker leaves you stunned. Every iteration of a scene becomes more and more profound with added details & absolutely amazing camera work to the point that you would be feeling it grow inside you.

  • Knights of Odessa's rating of the film Domains

    Making film means giving life to literature. Repeated practices looks same but somehow different.

  • Wee Hunk's rating of the film Domains

    "I thought we were going to make a movie." "We did make a movie." "No we didn't, we just rehearsed the movie. Are you having trouble with the budget?" "The movie is finished. We filmed it. You were there." "You filmed the rehearsals. Am I missing something?" "That is the movie." "The rehearsals is the movie?" "Yes. That was the movie." "Hmmm."

  • Chandni Gajria's rating of the film Domains

    It a tedious watch. It takes a whole lot of patience to stay with the characters. I couldn't stop watching the movie. But after an hour couldn't take it anymore either. Continued watching it the next day. The format of the narrative makes it gripping and the fact that you want to know what happens at the end makes you stay with the plot. Worth a watch if you can make it till the end.

  • Ira Yun's rating of the film Domains

    It's not really about making a film. Rehearsing/Iterating same dialogues is not the main point but merely a method. It's about confused pragmatics. Repetiting same sequence, partially or fully, creates metaphorical membrane. Interference of domains. "Coded conversations" with "rules also coded" are "passwords to the castle" but "no one will be capable of understanding what I have written"

  • easypz's rating of the film Domains

    Points for innovation. But major issues. Aki says many emotions packed behind her crime--the "why." She put that context in her letter to Noroko & says no one else can understand. But that missing context wasn't made provocative enough to spark an intense desire to solve it. Thus the table readings do unpack the mystery, but the revelations lack impact. A related issue: "table reading" says "doesn't really matter."

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