Film Review: Paradise View (1985) by Go Takamine

There’s a world of Japanese cinema outdoors of the Kyoto and Tokyo dominated initiatives, every of those cities serving because the historic bases for the nation’s movie trade. One such location that’s at all times refreshing to see on the large display is the Okinawa Prefecture, a collection of islands within the East China Sea disconnected from mainland Japan. It’s this tropical setting that Okinawan filmmaker Go Takamine makes use of for his gradual and meandering breakthrough characteristic, “Paradise View”.

Paradise View is screening at Japan Society

Days earlier than the Okinawa Reversion of 1971, Reishu Goya (Kaoru Kobayashi) has stop his job at an American army base with seemingly little else to do in thoughts. Round him, numerous households quibble and scheme as a close-knit group involves phrases with inevitable change. Into this lawless but peaceable setting wanders Ito (Haruomi Hosono), a Japanese who has come to marry one of many village ladies, Nabee (Tamao Koike), in accordance with conventional customs.

“Paradise View” is a rarity in Japanese cinema in that it was filmed solely within the sparsely spoken Okinawan language. This is only one of many Ryukyuan cultural and conventional options that discover their approach into the movie and assist introduce us to this distinct space of Japan. As an Okinawan, you’re feeling that Go Takamine imprinted a lot of his distinctive experiences and data onto the undertaking, which comes by means of within the absolutely realised and atmospheric world of pre-reversion Okinawa. The author-director additionally contains nods to some historic occasions surrounding the reversion, notably indigenous guerilla resistance. Nonetheless, these cases are principally background noise to the multi-faceted major narrative.

In some methods, “Paradise View” appears like a tropical haunt film as we bounce round Reishu’s village and observe the inter-community drama that plagues every day life. The younger Nabee’s resistance to her proposed marriage throws up surprising developments that spell hassle within the small village. Nonetheless, most characters show a fairly lax and laid-back angle in the direction of life. The shortage of a transparent narrative could also be irritating for some, but Takamine presents a refreshing slice of life drama that skillfully weaves from one household to the subsequent.

What actually makes the movie tick is the solid of oddball characters that populate the tropical village. I discovered essentially the most entertaining of the bunch to be Chiru, a deceptively shy younger girl who’s greater than keen to take issues into her personal palms. A spirited efficiency from Jun Togawa sees Chiru mope and sing in equal measure, usually as she wanders previous with numerous pig physique elements. There are lots extra memorable figures that populate the movie – a nonchalant dentist with questionable strategies, two grisly brothers whose motives stay ambiguous, and, in fact, the Japanese bachelor, Ito, performed right here by influential musician Haruomi Hosono. Watching these characters go about their every day lives is cathartic to some extent, though none are explored in a lot depth, fact be advised.

Sadly, one of many movie’s only mood-setters additionally proves to be its largest weak spot, that being its leisurely pacing. Certain, it’s enjoyable to kill time hanging round with the village oddballs and witness the following melodrama, however you start to query the purpose after some time. Actually, in the direction of the ultimate quarter or so of the movie, issues take a flip for the marginally surreal, although in a extra complicated and patience-testing method than one would possibly like.

With “Paradise View”, Go Takamine presents a matter-of-fact take a look at pre-reversion Okinawan life, albeit in his sedated filmmaking type. Sure narrative factors pique curiosity, however, in the long run, they’re all deliberately inconsequential. If a fantastically aimless portrait of Okinawa is what you’re searching for, there’s enjoyment to be discovered, although in my case, Takamine’s admittedly well-crafted movie outstayed its welcome.



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