a page of madness

film writing by nicholas vroman

Hanetsu no tsuki

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Hanetsu no tsuki opens with a voice over telling an ancient tale of three small mountains that people believed were inhabited by gods over the images of an excavation in process, a conveyor belt making new hills from the tailings. It’s a strong image in a meandering drama that ultimately gets buried under its heavy symbolism. The simple story revolves around Kayoko (Yoko Oshima) living with Takumi (Touta Komizu), obviously at the end of their relationship. She has an affair with woodcarver Tetsuya (Tetsuya Akikawa). One day she reveals that she’s pregnant and proceeds to break off with both men. Director Naomi Kawase’s (The Mourning Forest) take on a basic feminist trope has some moments of stunning beauty and gentle rhythm that almost makes it work. Even the introduction of an enigmatic and silent World War II soldier and his family nearly makes the bridge from the mythic to the historic to the contemporary work, but the characters exist merely as stand-ins for some not very clear ideas, rather than individuals the viewer can identify with.

Originally published in EL Magazine, September 2011

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Written by Nicholas Vroman

September 1, 2011 at 2:18 am

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