a page of madness

film writing by nicholas vroman

Futatabi / ふたたび / Swing Me Again

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Director Toshi Shioya’s Futatabi is a road movie with a jazzy soundtrack that pulls no sentimental stops and doesn’t end until they are all well rung out and hung out to dry. The story is mainly about 78 year old Kenzaburo (Ichiro Zaitsu) hitting the road with his 20 something grandson, Hiroto (Ryohei Suzuki) in order to wrangle up his old jazz band mates for their final big reunion. Between product placements and tearful reconciliations, there is a glimpse of some nice ensemble work, particularly among the old guys of the Cool Jazz Quintet, played by Hiroshi Inuzuka, Mitsuo Sagawa and Shunji Fujimura (even though he fakes the trumpet rather poorly). But as the details pile up – flashbacks to the band as young well-coifed bucks, tragic love, leprosy and more – Futatabi gets mired in its own schlock. By the end, where old Kenzaburo dies on the altar steps in an absurd variation of The Quiet Man and young Hiroto  (with Kenzaburo’s sax) joins the band, valiantly playing on, one knows Futatabi has gone too far.


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