a page of madness

film writing by nicholas vroman

Heaven’s Story / ヘヴンズ ストーリー

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Takahisa Zeze, who made his name in contemporary pinku turned relatively mainstream in the 2000s with films such as Moon Child and Pandemic. With his Heaven’s Story, he’s attempting to craft a sort of Nashville / Babel / Wings of Desire for the second decade of 21st century film going. The first 2 hours are great. The film sputters, albeit with some great moments, and ultimately dies after the second 2 and a half hours. Heaven’s Story is a study in monumental intimacy, revolving around the intersecting lives of over a dozen characters over the course of 10 years. There’s an awful lot of death and tragedy in these stories. Zeze gives ample opportunity for a mess of Japan’s finest character actors to show their chops and pull heartstrings to near breaking tautness. There’s not a throwaway performance in the bunch. Introductory and interlude scenes highlighting Hyakki Dondoro’s puppet performance are truly haunting. The scope, the ambition and the very sure director’s hand are to be applauded. Somewhere in Heaven’s Story is a brilliant 3 hours feature dying to get out.

Originally published in EL Magazine, Oct. 2010

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Written by Nicholas Vroman

October 1, 2010 at 12:38 am

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