Thursday, July 21, 2016

Fake (2016) Japan Cuts 2016

FAKE is the story of Mamoru Samuragochi who was hailed as a modern day Beethoven because his deafness and his musical abilities made it seem like he was similar to the great composer.  However it all fell apart on the eve of the Sochi Olympics. Seemingly out of left field a man came forward to say that he was the real writer of all of Samurgochi's works and that the composer was lying about his deafness. The media attacked Samurgochi was destroyed and the man who accused him was hailed as a hero for revealing the truth.

The trouble is what was revealed isn't the whole truth.

Tatsuya Mori returned to documentary filmmaking for the first time in 15 years in order to chronicle Samurgochi's story. Using long takes that allow things to play out Mori's film paints a complex portrait of man who is neither hat he presented himself to be nor what the media said he was either. While it's clear that Samuragochi can hear sound, he is effectively deaf since his ability to differentiate sound isn't there. Also he it's clear  he does have talent.

While that may sound spoilery, I assure it's not since the film is about more than can he or can't he. This is a portrait of man in crisis and the nature of the relationship with his wife who is kind of trapped in his cage. Its also a portrait of an out of control media which never really fact checked and just kicked a man because they felt they could. Its interesting to note that director Mori doesn't think the film will do any business because a TV interview with Samuragochi examining his side of the story was unwatched.

I like this film. I like the long flowing sequences because this is a situation where letting the camera run allowed for things to be caught on tape. Where Mori did similar things in his previous two films on the Aum Shinrikyo cult making them a tough slog, here it works to the film's advantage as we really get to see and examine the man at the center of the film.

One of my favorite films at this year's Japan Cuts, Recommended, especially for anyone interested in the media and the gulf between the truth and what is reported.

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