Thursday, April 25, 2013

Odayaka (2013) Tribeca 2013

Split personality film will play differently depending upon your closeness to the subject, the aftermath of the earthquake and tsunami on 3/11 two years ago.

The plot of the film follows two women  who live next to each other in an apartment complex in the days after the earthquake.  As the physical damage appears small the pair try to cope with changing government stories and the threat of radiation.One woman tries to keep her daughter safe at day care (the ground may be contaminated), while the other tries to get her husband to move away from the danger.

To my Western eyes this is a good film that could have been great had it taken a singular track all the way through.

Most of the the first half of the film is a polemic as everyone talks about the radiation and how one should wear masks and try to see if things are really safe. It's similar conversations over and over again for almost an hour. The second half we finally get characters as we see the riffs between husband and wives, and how the men are not really there for their women. Yes it's soapy with talk of miscarriage, divorce and suicide, but at least it has characters are not mouth pieces. Hell we even get to understand the Japanese psyche about carrying on as if nothing is wrong. This is what the film should have been.

I did like the film, but I didn't love it. Its almost great. Worth seeing,especially if you haven't seen any of the films on the disaster that have been coming out of Japan.

1 comment:

  1. I'm going to respectfully disagree on a few points, starting with the last statement - even though I haven't seen any of those other films yet - because Odayaka is not a film about the disaster; it attacks a very pervasive but harmful aspect of the culture that became prominent in the days following the earthquake. I don't think other films set out to do that. I think you are absolutely right that we get to 'understand the Japanese psyche about carrying on as if nothing is wrong.' but i don't think that suddenly comes out only near the end of the film. It takes all those debates about wearing masks and where to buy food from to see how some people are acting like there is nothing to be concerned about. If the movie was all of those big events that come out near the conclusion, i think it would indeed be soapy. Instead it's very life-like in its gradual build up to these painful situations.

    That's just my view at least. I hope my review or my mid-transcription interview with the film's director and cast lends some credence to a different perspective!