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It is normally a joy when a new film by Japanese director Naoko Ogigami is released. Soon after “Close-Knit”, awarded at the Berlinale, “Riverside Mukolitta” (Kawapperi Mukolitta) is her most recent function, a film adapted from a novel written by Ogigami herself.

Riverside Mukolitta is screening at Camera Japan

Takeshi Yamada (Kenichi Matsuyama) is a lonely young man who arrives, penniless and seeking desolate, in the coastal town of Toyama, to operate at a shiokara&nbsp(salted squid) factory. We do not know at this point why Yamada is there or something about his previous, but factory CEO Sawada (Naoto Ogata) who knows anything, provides him a warm welcome and sends him to Shiori Minami (Hikari Mitsushima) who will be in a position to uncover him a inexpensive accommodation. In truth, landlady Shiori, a young widow with a daughter, lets a 50-year-old flat to Yamada for a superior cost, element of the tiny compound known as Mukolitta Apartments, populated by a group of quirky humans. His neighbors involve Kozo (Tsuyoshi Muro) who lovingly grows vegetables in the garden, door-to-door tombstone seller Kenichi Mizoguchi (Hidetaka Yoshioka) who operates with his tiny “mini-me” son, in charge of the tag line “We place our hearth in our service”, Gan-Chan, a silent monk of a regional temple who likes generating chewing gum balloon and the ghost of an old lady, a departed former Mukolitta resident.

Kozo is the initially to introduce himself in a bizarre way, insisting to have a bath at Yamada’s flat, and quickly repays the favor providing Yamada some homegrown vegetables, a lifeline for the young man who is struggling in the days just before getting his initially salary. Gradually the two develop into closer and begin sharing some basic pleasures, like freshly cooked rice, a crunchy cucumber with mayonnaise, a chilled can of beer in a hot day and also some private secrets and previous experiences. The explanation why Yamada is there will surface in their chat. At the exact same time, Yamada receives a notification that his lengthy-estranged father has passed away, located dead in his property, and his remains will need to be collected at the crematorium. Yamada, just after a life with no a father, is now forced to share his flat with the man’s ashes, triggering a series of consideration about his personal life.

Though her preceding “Close-Knit” followed a additional standard narrative and the scope of a “social problem” film, with “Riverside Mukolitta” Ogigami goes back to her trademark depiction of quirky, absurd characters of insular communities, in a additional episodic manner. But whilst the plot is a thin backbone, a additional significant topic matter sustains and runs via all the a variety of characters and their lives. In truth, all of them share a important expertise about death from Yamada’s father to Shiori’s beloved husband, a group of invisible ghosts refuses to depart this globe and preserve hanging in the air, tickling and tormenting the lives of the ones left behind. Kenichi, pitching his tombstone business enterprise has the unpleasant function of “memento mori”, reminding us that we are all going to die, and monk Gan, spends his time fishing and blowing chewing gum balloons as no one any longer want to invest funds to employ him for a funeral ceremony.

Nonetheless, becoming in a Naoko Ogigami’s film, this heavy and deep topic is mediated by a dark and surreal sense of humour and a hefty dose of mundanity. She depicts daily life like no other people, highlighting tiny sweet specifics and the comic absurdity of a lot of moments. A ideal instance is Yamada locating some clues about his father in the most unlikely approaches from the scrupulous, soft-spoken crematorium attendant who delivers the remains and shows Yamada his father’s completely preserved apple bone or from the phone lifeline operator (the final contact on the father’s cell telephone) describing the souls of the deceased like goldfish floating in the air. Yamada’s character is complete of human frailties and pains generating him quick to care for, regardless of his spiky and really like-repellent look. He faces his father’s miserable and lonely death with good discomfort as he is scared to inherit the exact same miserable life. “Is becoming superior-for-practically nothing genetic? Is worthlessness handed down?” he asks in tears to CEO Sawada. However, he is surrounded by superior people today, that have discovered to uncover joy in tiny points in the face of adversity, and the final scene is a hugely rewarding closure.

Meals is a way director Ogigami utilizes to speak about day-to-day life, and meals is everywhere, it is the buoy that keeps the characters afloat. Crunching, chomping noises punctuate the protagonists’ conversations meals is shared, scrounged, donated and preferred as considerably as really like, friendship and discomfort. The major function of the film is played with intensity by Kenichi Matsuyama, who not too long ago has been noticed acting out numerous comparable moody and introverted characters, like in “Noise” and “Blue”. He embodies a frightened man/kid with commitment and talent, and the double act with well known actor Tsuyoshi Muro in the function of Kozo is extremely balanced and entertaining. Apparently, Ogigami met Kenichi Matsuyama at the Udine Far East Film Festival exactly where she was presenting “Close-Knit” and believed he was the a single for the function. As normally in her films, all the secondary components are properly created, even the extremely tiny ones like the cheerful taxi driver, former firework operator, who place the wife’s ashes in a firework to send her off in the evening sky. The visual style is what I would define the director’s extremely private “sunny” realism, candid and truthful with a touch of delighted magic, more than mesmerizing landscapes even this time, regardless of the definite turn to a darker side.

“Riverside Mukolitta” is a film about death affecting life, about tiny joys overcoming worry and about second possibilities in life, told with wit and character.



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