a page of madness

film writing by nicholas vroman

Antoki no Inochi / Life Back Then / アントキノイノチ

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Takahisa Zeze returns, after his brilliant Heaven’s Story, with an interesting, but largely missing-the-mark follow up – Antoki no Inochi. The plot follows the travails of Kyohei (pretty boy Masaki Okada), struggling from childhood trauma. He gets a job with a company that cleans up the houses and apartments of those recently deceased. All of this dealing with the remains of the dead helps his come to some terms with his own baggage, as does his nascent relationship with coworker Yuki (model and tarento Nana Eikura). Zeze does them both well as their relationship develops under the stress of their “sunshine cleaning” job. The details of workers entering empty apartments saying, “Taidaima” (I’m home!) and praying for a moment before buckling down to clean blood-stained tatami mats and rifle through the detritus of lives gone add touching detail to an unusual love story. The film all goes well until (spoiler alert!) Yuki dies and Kyohei is faced with cleaning up her life. This plot contrivance soon undermines the better parts of an otherwise worthwhile effort.

Originally published in EL Magazine, October 2011

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Written by Nicholas Vroman

November 1, 2011 at 5:23 am

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