Yoshida films thru an Antonioni-esque lens with hints of Godardian musings and fantasy, yet with a feel that is distinctly his own - and accentuated by the masterful performances of Okada and Yokouchi. Just like the coastal castle that Naoko identifies herself with, every man and woman is an island; temporarily connected when the tides ebb, only to be overwhelmed by the returning floodwaters of isolation.
Walking amidst European architecture with impeccable mise-en-scene in search for ideals displaced and cemented by and through location and time is a most inherently romantic concept, none better supported by its usage of sound: the wakings of warm church chimes, the tinges of apparitional avant-garde, bookended and sealed by an unforgettable tune destined for a perpetually fond yet bittersweet melancholia.
Like a cheap mystery novel, a secret is revealed in the film's final act, and all of the seemingly unrelated themes suddenly connect together. I even 'get' the meaning of the title. So what? My main problem with the film is that these themes do not carry much weight because there is too much explaining through the characters' monologues and dialogues.