Saturday, September 26, 2015

Journey to the Shore (2015) New York Film Festival 2015

Kiyoshi Kurosawa is kind of the totem animal of Unseen Films. The first film festival coverage was of Film Comment Selects screening of his Revenge films. (That was our second day of existence). We've reviewed a number of his films and we've got a whole bunch more waiting to be written up. ANytime he has a new film out we/I make an effort to check it out and report back.

This year Kurosawa returns to the New York Film Festival with his adaption of Kazumi Yumoto’s 2010 novel. A seemingly radical shifting of gears the film has the master in a kind of lyric and upbeat mode.

The film has piano teacher Mizuki just trying to get by in life. She has still not come to terms by the disappearance of her husband several years earlier. One night as she's cooking Yusuke, her husband, shows up and informs her that he is in fact dead, having died of a sudden illness all those years ago. He wants to know if she would like to take a trip with him to see some amazing things, and to meet some of the people who helped him since he died.

A deliberately paced film, set in a world where the living and the dead can intermingle, this is film about life, love and the complications we leave behind.Its a film about coming to terms and maybe letting go. It has a bunch to say about what's important in life and making amends.

Basically there is a hell of a lot going on- most of it wonderful.

I'm just going to jump right in and say I love this film a great deal. three quarters of it had me feeling absolutely terrified that the film would end I would have to leave all of these great people and this wonderful story. This movie moved me to tears several times. I'm so glad I have a new cinematic friend.

My one reservation with the film, which greatly disappointed me, is that there is a point somewhere in the last quarter where the films very deliberate pace and structure breaks apart. A certain character shows up and suddenly the film, which took its time on the journey,suddenly speeds up with some twists and turns that just seem out of place. Its not that there is anything wrong with what happens, rather it happens with such speed that it feels wrong. Its so bad that even when they get to the shore in the final minutes, we don't see it until the credits roll.

Slight reservation aside, this is a must see. I love it and if you're willing to take it on its terms I think you'll love it too.

The film screens September 29th and October 1 at the New York FIlm Festival. For tickets and more information go here.

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