Friday, November 19, 2010

Sweet Little Lies (Hitoshi Yazaki, 2010)

A picture-perfect couple (Nao Omori and Miki Nakatani) that is bored, bored, bored with their current life. Both drift into adulterous romances. He with an old college classmate (Chizuru Ikewaki), she with a customer (Juichi Kobayashi) who buys one of the cute stuffed bears she makes. Meanwhile, the couple goes on as if nothing has changed (as best they can). Can this marriage be saved?

Yazaki's last film was the excellent, rather edgy Strawberry Shortcakes (about four young woman who were all in a state of romantic disarray). In this film, Yazaki takes a more classical turn, evoking the 50s family dramas of Ozu and Naruse. One gets echoes of Early Spring, Repast, Sudden Rain, Husband and Wife and A Woman's Heart (among others) -- tinged with (perhaps) a dash of HONG Sang-soo. In a nice touch, Yazaki managed to find a surviving cast member from Repast (Akiko Kazami, who also appeared in Shinozaki's Not Forgotten several years ago) to play an elderly neighbor of the couple.

The Japanese DVD is afflicted with the current curse of no subtitles (not even Japanese ones). This is the kind of release that would have gotten English subtitles just a few years ago (Strawberry Shortcakes had them). But this convenience appears to be a thing of the past. In the event this film turns up anywhere in your neighborhood (sadly not all that likely), I recommend it highly.



Franco said...

Welcome back! I missed your blog.

ABout "Sweet little lies", I also loved "Strawberry shortcakes". Hopo to can watch this soon.

Michael Kerpan said...

I suspect new postings will be sporadic, but Sweet Little Lies is such an undeservedly neglected film (so far) that I felt obliged to give it a bit of extra attention.

Unfortunately, when dealing with Blu-Ray releases, I'll have no way to make screen shots -- and I consider providing screen shots to be more important than the little bit of commentary I provide. ;~{

Maybe I will tackle Bushido Sixteen next (if I can get some decent screen captures).

sitenoise said...

Ok then. Welcome back. I too love loved Strawberry Shortcakes and so I would love to see this. What's the deal with no subs? Is it upon anyone who picks this up for distribution outside Japan? Will that even happen? I'm so forlorn.

Michael Kerpan said...

I can't imagine this will ever get a release outside Japn -- Strawberry Shortcakes had a slightly salacious side -- which is lacking in Sweet Little Lies -- and even it got largely ignored.