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

Just a few years back, finding a film [Read More...]
Forget Friday the 13th, Paranormal Activity and the [Read More...]
A lot of British people would rather forget [Read More...]
Pigs might fly. And so Brexit might happen. [Read More...]
Holidaying in Cambodia with Isaac (Ross McCall), Ben [Read More...]
Fifty years have passed since students joined forces [Read More...]

Read More

Official Secrets

Gavin Hood
2019

Patricia Cook - 15-09-2019

Dirty and Special Relationship: the UK and the US conspire in order to persuade UN Security Council members to support the Iraq War, in political thriller based on real events - in cinemas Friday October 18th (and also at the BFI London Film Festival) [Read More...]

American Woman

Jake Scott
2019

Jack Hawkins - 11-09-2019

Life must go on on for a young woman after her teen daughter goes missing, in this dirty kitchen sink drama starring Sienna Miller - in cinemas Friday, October 11th. [Read More...]

Our dirty questions to Karim Ainouz

 

Victor Fraga - 11-09-2019

Our editor met up with the director of The Invisible Life of Euridice Gusmao, the astounding Brazilian melodrama that won the prestigious Un Certain Regard award in Cannes and could soon snatch an Oscar! [Read More...]

Facebook Comment

Website Comments

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.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