Norwegian Wood

A filmic adaptation of Haruki Murakami’s acclaimed novel, Norwegian Wood, was never going to be straightforward, but in the hands of Vietnamese filmmaker, Tran Anh Hung, the microscopic portrayal of the devastating impact of a teenager’s suicide proves to be an involving and beautiful psychodrama.

 

The film is set in 1960’s Tokyo.  A Japanese woman recovering from a breakdown plays a charming acoustic version of the Beatles classic that gives the film its title.  The innocent and pure interpretation accentuates the ethereal quality of the original that is fully in tune with the dreamy consciousness of the film’s characters.  There is a timelessness here, a certain distance from reality which sits outside of Japan’s contemporaneous political unrest and student demonstrations.

 

Watanabe is the film’s narrator, as an adult recalling this earlier time where he is torn between two strikingly attractive girls who are binary opposites in almost all other respects.  One is the traumatised former girlfriend of his best friend who committed suicide when at High School with whom he shares an intense grief.  The other is a very knowing, emancipated young girl about town unafraid of using her sex appeal tactically.  Along the way, a dodgy roommate, superficially sophisticated but entirely selfish, and noticeably Westernised, demonstrates a third alternative; one that disrespects women and prioritises personal gratification at all cost.

 

Watanabe undergoes a journey of a kind but it is on the various diversions from the norm that he negotiates the conflicting forces at play.  The narrative explores very adult themes – guilt, loss and death and their relationship to sex – but filtered through a mind prematurely exposed to their significance.  Meanings are open with their context providing no more than possibilities and we sense that Tran is inviting us to share Watanabe’s bewilderment and alienation as we seek clarity.

 

Outstanding Ping Bin Lee (Three Times, Café Lumière, In the Mood for Love) is on board and, as we have come to expect, his cinematography is striking, here filtered through a series of tracking shots.  The musical score compliments and adds to the mood, intelligently composed by Radiohead’s Jonny Greenwood.  And Rinko Kikuchi is particularly impressive as the damaged schoolgirl but all of the young cast is convincing.generic cialis pillsbuy cialis in usaampicillin stock ampicillin mechanism of action ampicillin for uti ampicillin and sulbactam

 

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March 11th, 2011 - admin

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