Tuesday, December 2, 2014


UZAMASA LIMELIGHT opens Friday at the Village Cinema East in New York

The film is the story of an actor specializing in playing samurai warriors extras. As the studio he’s working at decides to close down production he takes a young actress under his wing.

The film closed out this years New York Asian Film Festival where it took home the Audience Award. The film also has won awards around the world and lead actor SeizĂ´ Fukumoto himself a supporting player in samurai films has gotten all sorts of awards and accolades. There has also been talk of him being a dark horse for an Oscar by everyone who’s seen the film.

Here’s my (slightly modified) take on the film.

(And the quote in the trailer above from Libertas is from our good friend Joe Bendel. His full review can be found here.)

UZUMASA LIMELIGHT ...is set in Uzumasa the Japanese equivalent of Hollywood. The film concerns an aging actor specializing in dying on screen in samurai TV shows and movies. As the studio shifts to other genres he's forced to take work working at a theme park because a director of a cop show gets him blackballed. However he connects with an actress who wants to learn sword fighting.

Yes the film is based on Chaplin's LIMELIGHT. The film opens with a quote from it, there is a picture from it in one scenes and the poster states proudly this film is a homage to Chaplin's. Its a little too obvious, and too much if you ask me.

I firmly like this film a great deal. I'm not in love with it, I know many people around me LOVED the film and were sniffling toward the end (and no that tells you nothing). Yes I got a little misty as well, but I was also annoyed that the film as a whole wasn't as good as the final fifteen minutes (which are glorious).

The problem is this feels like it should be longer. We bounce through time. Unless someone makes a reference to time we don't know that months have passed. Also troubling is that Seizo Fukumoto as the aging actor says very little. Yes he gives a great performance but he says very little, which would be fine except the writer and director decided to fill in his lack of talking by having lots of other characters explain whats happening it's not needed.

Still the film has moments that transcend all the flaws. The final fifteen minutes are amazing, as are several other sequences. There is some truly great stuff here, but there is some average TV movie stuff as well.

By no means a bad film, its an almost great film that you'll wish were better because the good parts are just so damn great.

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