DMovies - Your platform for thought-provoking cinema

Asako I & II (Nemeto Sametemo)

Director - Ruysuke Hamaguchi - 2018

"Thoroughly sanitised movie"
Japanese romance is lame and tedious in almost every conceivable aspect; a thespian feline is probably the best thing about it - from the BFI London Film Festival

Teenage girl falls in love. Her crush goes to the shop and doesn’t come back. She moves from small city to big city and falls in love with someone who looks exactly like the man who abandoned her. They fall in love and live happily for five years. Then the love from the past returns, and he is now rich and famous. Said girl is left in a very difficult situation. Sounds clichéd? That’s because it is. Asako I & II is also banal, futile, predictable and poorly acted. It’s probably the worst film in competition at Cannes this year.

The girl in question is Asako and she’s played by Erika Karata. The small(ish) city is Osaka and the big city is Tokyo. Asako has the habit of standing still with her mouth shut without moving a single muscle, and that’s when the actress is at her most convincing. Otherwise she feels forced and unnatural. Her acting skills are very limited, it seems. The same applies to other actors. Masahiro Higashide plays both Ryohei (the new love) and Baku (the revenant), and he comes across as infantile in both roles. At one point, Asako’s friend Maya (Rio Yamashita), who dreams of becoming a famous actress, bemoans her very own acting skills. It’s almost as if Rio was talking about her very own stiff performance!

The script is extremely conventional and most people will guess how the film ends roughly halfway through the 120-minute story. There are no surprises. The message conveyed is also very conventional, revealing how rigid and conservative Japanese society remains to this day. A friend explains to Asako: “men find it unbearable to be with a woman who has had another man’s penis inside her”. How profound! And the final resolution of the movie screams out loud: “stick to the more convenient path and stay out of trouble!!!”. The film closes with an invaluable pearl of wisdom. Asako looks at the passing river and professes: “the waters are dirty, but still beautiful”. Such originality. Words fail me. The soundtrack is bubblegum-cheesy, and not even groovy.

Not all is awful about this movie. Praise must go to Jintan the Cat. The observant feline follows the action closely and even gets involved in a crucial moment at the end. His profound eyes communicate far more than the other characters.

Asako I &II showed in competition at the 71 Cannes Film Festival, when this piece was originally written. It premieres in the UK as part of the BFI London Film Festival taking place between October 10th and 21st.



"Thoroughly sanitised movie"

By Victor Fraga - 14-05-2018

By Victor Fraga - 14-05-2018

Victor Fraga is a Brazilian born and London-based writer with more than 15 years o...

DMovies Poll

Are the Oscars dirty enough for DMovies?

View Results

Loading ... Loading ...

Most Read

The world is blithely unaware of the coup [Read More...]
Back in 2010, Germany striker Mario Gomez urged [Read More...]
Forget Friday the 13th, Paranormal Activity and the [Read More...]
When people die, they are taken to the [Read More...]
Perhaps no other 20th century artist has captured [Read More...]
Pigs might fly. And so Brexit might happen. [Read More...]

Read More

Crossing European borders without leaving your sofa!

 

DMovies' team - 07-12-2018

Olivier Pere, the Artistic Director of the ArteKino Festival, reveals how the initiative began, some of his film selection criteria, and why everyone should be watching European cinema for free this month! [Read More...]

Meteors (Meteorlar)

Gurcan Keltek
2018

Victor Fraga - 06-12-2018

Man strikes, and so does nature! Filmmaker exposes Turkish operation against Kurds by blending footage collected by locals with images of natural phenomena such as a meteorite rain and the eclipse of the sun - in selected cinemas Friday, December 7th [Read More...]

Tides

Tupaq Felber
2017

Jeremy Clarke - 05-12-2018

A thousand shades of grey. Four friends take a barge holiday on the canals of Southern England, captured in glorious black and white cinematography - in cinemas from Friday, December 7th [Read More...]

Facebook Comment

Website Comments

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *