|Posted by dailybento on March 30, 2010 at 2:14 AM|
We recently saw this movie, based on a very popular manga by Saori Oguri, and thoroughly enjoyed it. It's the true story of bridging the cultural boundaries between a Japanese woman, Saori, and her American boyfriend Tony. Other than the obvious relation my wife and I felt towards the characters, it was well written, well filmed, the characters were very realistic, and it portrays true elements of Japanese culture with purity. Although at times Tony looked all too angelic, and Saori seemed to be overly pedantic and easily upset I think this is simply how she sees herself (the author also being the main character she seems to look at Tony with real rose coloured glasses, and look at herself as almost unworthy of his company.) As far as the writing of the characters went, it was fairly good. I thought Saori was written (and acted) extremely well, but at times it looked like the character of Tony had clearly been written by the female protagonist. It made him a little pouty, over-intelligent and pretentious at times, but at times believablility shone through.
If you have any experience of living in Japan as a married (or single) foreigner, then I'm sure you can really relate to the instances when things seem so reasonable to one party, but so unfathomable to the other. It may not have such an impact on those who haven't lived in Japan, and it is clearly made for a Japanese audience, however it also has a very strong influence from Tony Lazslo, and looks like they have strived to make the movie (like the manga, no doubt) as universally acceptable as possible.
From the very begining you can see the absurdities of assumptions made by both parties, Japanese and foreign. Tony stops a man in the street, and asks for directions in perfect Japanese, the man responds by saying 'Sorry, I don't speak English.' From that point on I was moved for the entire movie and relating easily to his experiences. My wife also could relate to the things that frustrated Saori. Furthermore, thanks to small incerpts from other international couples of all races it really gives this movie a slightly wider view and makes it seem less introspective.
Obviously this is going to be no great blockbuster, but... yeh... liked it. If you are in a similar situation it's well worth your time, and even if you just have an interest in the colision of cultures that are so completely at odds at times then I'm sure you won't be dissapointed. I might try to pick up the DVD when it comes out actually.